Iselin plans still awaiting final OK |

Iselin plans still awaiting final OK

Janet Urquhart

Today may be the day for the long-awaited go-ahead for the Iselin Park recreation complex.

After three-plus hours of consultant presentations and public comment on the project Monday night, the Aspen City Council was forced to continue its proceedings until today at 5 p.m.

Also meeting again today on the Iselin plans will be the Aspen-Pitkin County Growth Management Commission, which must make a decision on the project before the council can give its final approval to the plans.

Much of last night’s public discussion centered on potential parking problems and maintenance of Maroon Creek Road – issues that tripped up the Growth Management Commission a week ago.

The city is seeking an exemption from growth management competition for the Iselin project, as it qualifies as an essential public facility. The Growth Management Commission, made up of the city and county planning and zoning commissions, delayed its decision until today after discussion last week bogged down in large part due to the county contingent’s concerns about impacts on Maroon Creek Road.

County Commissioners Mick Ireland and Patti Clapper presented a list of conditions to the City Council last night regarding maintenance of the road and parking enforcement that are expected to alleviate those concerns. Eventually, the city is expected to annex or take over maintenance of the road. The city has already annexed much of the property on either side.

In the meantime, the agreement calls for the city to handle all parking enforcement issues associated with the new Iselin facility.

“It’s the county’s position that the city ought to take responsibility for the overflow parking problems if there are any,” Ireland said.

A representative of the metropolitan districts at the new Aspen Highlands Village suggested the village and the new Five Trees neighborhood be involved in any agreement, as well.

Overflow skier parking from Highlands is currently clogging Maroon Creek Road and nearby residential streets. No-parking regulations on Maroon Creek Road have not been enforced, and the situation has produced numerous complaints from residents in the area.

Some fear the new development at Iselin will only exacerbate the situation.

Mayor Rachel Richards said she is willing to support paid parking at Iselin for single-occupant vehicles if that step, along with parking enforcement on the road, is necessary to encourage mass transit use.

“It takes backbone, not just a wishbone, to make things happen. It takes carrots and sticks,” she said.

Parking at Iselin will be boosted to about 120 spaces. With nearby parking at the schools campus and parking at the base of Tiehack at Buttermilk, there will be about 655 spaces near Iselin Park. The Tiehack lot will be connected to Iselin with a planned pedestrian bridge over Maroon Creek, but the city must secure permission for nighttime use of that lot from the Maroon Creek Club development company.

The Iselin Park recreation complex, expected to cost nearly $17 million, will include a privately funded ice rink; an indoor leisure pool and competitive lap pool with diving at one end; hot tub; sauna and steam room; climbing wall; snack bar/cafe; a new Aspen Youth Center; and one two-bedroom employee housing unit.

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Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2001

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