Housing petitions ready | AspenTimes.com

Housing petitions ready

Janet Urquhart

A pair of initiative petitions spurred by opposition to the city’s Burlingame Ranch housing project are reportedly ready for submission to the city clerk’s office.Circulators anticipate handing the petitions over to City Clerk Kathryn Koch late this afternoon, local resident Bert Myrin said yesterday. He has been helping spearhead the petition drive, which began last September.Both petitions contain more than the 736 required signatures of registered city voters, according to Myrin, but circulators have continued to collect signatures this week. The deadline to submit the petitions to the city is Monday; the clerk has 30 working days to verify signatures once a petition is submitted.”We’ve met our goal. Now we’re just working on a buffer,” Myrin said Thursday. “We’re shooting, I think, for about a thousand signatures on each.”The petition drive hit a lull in the collection of signatures, Myrin said, until Mayor Helen Klanderud, in announcing her re-election bid, questioned the local propensity to challenge the decisions of a representative government whenever someone disagrees.”After that, there were a few people who actually called to help circulate,” Myrin said.Each petition proposes an ordinance that would change city practices regarding the development of employee housing. While neither measure mentions Burlingame specifically, it was the controversial housing project that sparked the initiatives.One proposed ordinance would require voter approval of housing developments once the public costs of a project have been analyzed and disclosed. It would apply to projects that exceed 10 units or a public subsidy of $100,000 per unit.The other ordinance would prohibit the city from entering into pre-annexation agreements of the type that established the parameters for Burlingame.Whether either measure would actually impact Burlingame is unclear, as the project is close to receiving the final approvals it needs to proceed this spring. If the petitions are deemed sufficient by Koch, the City Council could choose to adopt the ordinances or put them before voters, possibly in the city’s May election. Or, the city could challenge either or both initiatives on a legal flaw – a strategy for which the petitions’ authors were bracing as they drafted the initiatives.While neither initiative addresses Burlingame specifically, opponents of the project are drafting a referendum petition aimed specifically at the housing project. It will ask voters to repeal the annexation of property slated for Burlingame. The annexation hearing is scheduled before the council on Monday, Feb. 14. If the council approves the annexation, opponents may submit a referendum petition for Koch’s review that night, Myrin said.A referendum petition requires signatures from 10 percent of registered voters, as opposed to 15 percent for the two initiatives.Burlingame, a 236-unit housing project that would include 97 residences (11 lots) in the first phase, is slated for a site north of the Maroon Creek Club and east of Deer Hill, across Highway 82 from Buttermilk. Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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