HPC shakeup stirs up tempest in Redstone | AspenTimes.com

HPC shakeup stirs up tempest in Redstone

Jeremy Heiman

A tempest in a teapot, the kind only a very small town can experience, is rocking the Crystal River Valley town of Redstone.

The disturbance that made the waves was Pitkin County’s appointment of new members to the Redstone Historic Preservation Committee, ousting four incumbents – all business owners in town. The appointments have resulted in angry letters to the county commissioners, the new appointees and local newspapers.

The commissioners are to appoint five members and three alternates to the committee for two-year terms, with four members or alternates appointed every year. This year, two regulars were retained and one alternate was elevated to regular membership. In addition, two new members were appointed to regular membership.

Four members were dropped from the committee, including three regular members and one alternate. The four, all owners of Redstone Boulevard businesses, complained of their dismissal and asked the county commissioners to revisit their decisions. A hearing was held March 7, but the commissioners did not budge.

“We were trying to get some reason as to why we were dismissed,” said Martin Fiala, who was not reappointed, along with Lisa Wagner, Billy Amicon and Eric Yoder. No reason was given, he said.

“It was not our intention to see a lot of business growth,” Fiala said. “We were the moderates,” he continued. The two retained by the county commissioners, he said, were absolute no-growth advocates.

“My take is the commissioners are trying to pack the board,” Fiala said. They displayed, he said, “a complete lack of trust of any business interest.”

But Commissioner Dorothea Farris, in whose district Redstone lies, said the board’s action was intended to be in Redstone’s best interest.

“The people we’ve appointed have historic preservation as their main interest,” she said. “The board feels that the focus of the HPC has got to be strictly historical.”

Redstone has its Redstone Community Association to look after economic development and other aspects of community life, she said.

She said the commissioners all participated in the decisions on the appointments, and the choices were not made based on personalities. The new appointees also received recommendations for being able to work well with other people, she said.

Farris defended the appointment of former alternate Darrell Munsell, noting his extensive work in historic monuments. Munsell is a retired history professor who is preparing to write a book about the history of the Crystal Valley area. Munsell’s work concentrated on the history of England’s Victorian era and historical monuments from that period.

Munsell’s appointment has been attacked because he lives some distance north of Redstone, near the BRB Campground. But county code authorizing the Redstone HPC allows appointees to reside in the Crystal River Valley, “within the bounds of Pitkin County (from approximately nine miles north of Redstone to approximately five miles south).” Munsell lives within that approximate nine-mile limit.

Another committee appointee, attacked by a letter writer for having lived in Redstone for only one year, in fact spent a great deal of her childhood in Redstone, Farris said.

The Historic Preservation Committee is given the responsibility of reviewing all plans for construction and remodeling in the Redstone Historic District, which includes the original town site and all areas within 1,000 feet. The group has the power to withhold a building permit from any project which does not meet guidelines for such features as roofing, siding, fencing, setback and scale.

Rules for the committee are spelled out in Pitkin County code.

Newly appointed to the committee are Suzanne Meredith and Ann Martin, along with incumbents Carrie McDonald and Maureen Rogers, and former alternate Munsell.

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