Maroon Creek Caucus splits from Castle Creek | AspenTimes.com

Maroon Creek Caucus splits from Castle Creek

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

Residents from the upper Maroon Creek community have taken the first steps to become a separate caucus area from the established Maroon-Castle Creek Caucus. At a Pitkin County commissioners meeting Wednesday, the commissioners approved a resolution that will establish the Maroon Creek Caucus.

Barbara Conviser has lived in the Maroon Creek area for 44 years and said her community is very different from Castle Creek.

"It was great when we had items of similar nature," Conviser said. "But at this point, it just doesn't seem like we do. I think it makes more sense for our relatively small group to act independently."

The Maroon-Castle Creek Caucus was officially recognized by the county in 1990 but has been relatively inactive as a group for the past several years. The primary function of Pitkin County caucuses is to make recommendations to the county on matters affecting the caucus areas, including development of county laws, budgetary appropriations, land-use approvals, rules and regulations and work-program matters.

The new caucus will run southwest from the Aspen Highlands area and follow Maroon Creek Road toward Maroon Lake.

Maroon Creek residents Marcella Larsen and Mike Waters worked together to comply with the intent of the county charter provision. When it came time to identify the new planning boundaries, Larsen and Waters tried to come up with what they considered a logical break.

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"Once you go past the Highlands and hit that curve in the road, the character completely changes," Larsen said. "You move from an area legally within an urban-growth boundary into the county's rural area, and there is that dramatic line. Our area is the rural area from Highlands on. We have a different character than the lower areas, and our interests aren't the same."

The new caucus area will consist of 18 to 20 homeowners that will now have a coordinated voice in land-use and planning matters affecting the Maroon Creek drainage.

The Castle Creek Caucus will remain a separate entity from Maroon Creek and will continue to use the current master plan, although they will have the option to update the plan.

Tom Ward has lived in the Maroon Creek area for 32 years and said once someone drives beyond the Maroon Creek Bridge, they can notice the immediate change from the residential areas they just drove through.

"We like the rural feeling of that area," Ward said. "It's so different than everything else you've come by coming up the valley. It's like you can take a breath. Our desire is to be able to work with the potential development that can happen and keep that feeling in that area."

The formation of a caucus is permitted subject to compliance with Article IV of the Pitkin County Home Rule Charter. The Maroon Creek residents did supply a written notice to all known property owners within the proposed caucus area and called for a meeting on July 28. At that meeting, a majority vote of the qualified electors and nonresident property owners in attendance determined that a new caucus area will be formed for the rural area of Maroon Creek.

Since the commissioners recognized the proposed caucus area, the new caucus can now adopt bylaws and operating procedures within the parameters of the Home Rule Charter.

After the meeting, several Maroon Creek residents gathered outside the plaza building and agreed that a separate caucus for their rural neighborhood made sense.

"It's a really good way to organize people and consider issues that affect our community," Larsen said. "It also gives us a collective voice and an opportunity to create a new master plan."

There will be a second and final reading of the resolution Oct. 22, along with a public hearing.

mmclaughlin@aspentimes.com

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