Musick apologizes for not delivering free W/J deeds
W/J Ranch owner John Musick has issued a letter of apology to “hundreds and hundreds” of people who were promised a free lot, but have yet to receive a deed.In a Feb. 5 letter to “All Free Lot Recipients,” Musick says he failed to meet his self-imposed deadline for issuing the deeds and has “no credible excuse for disappointing you.”Musick’s attempt to give away lots has been in the headlines since last November, shortly after his application to build nearly 800 affordable housing units was unanimously denied by Pitkin County commissioners.Musick reacted first by suing the county, charging its denial was illegal. Then, on Election Day, he parked in front of the post office in Aspen and began taking people’s names and addresses, promising one and all that they would receive a deed for a free lot in the very near future.Musick told The Aspen Times that he had set a personal deadline of “before the holidays” for issuing the deeds.”I missed my self-dictated due date,” Musick writes in the letter. “However, I will not mislead you again! I will not perform like the elected liars and affordable housing thieves. Accordingly, I am providing you in this letter with the truth, as it now exists.”In the letter, Musick says his attempts to negotiate a settlement with the county have failed. He alleges that the county commissioners passed an emergency resolution that prevents him from refiling a development application for three months.He promised the deeds would be forthcoming, perhaps as soon as next week. He is also waiting to see how the county Planning and Zoning Commission reacts to a proposal to rezone the Woody Creek ranch and drastically reduce the number of homes that can be built.The present affordable housing classification allows homes to be built very close to each other; the rezoning, if passed as proposed, would allow only one unit for every 20 acres. But county planner Lance Clarke said it would allow for affordable housing to be built, if certain conditions are met.Clarke said the county has been considering a rezoning since last spring. After initial attempts to add provisions that would allow affordable housing proved trickier than anticipated, the proposal was tabled while the planning staff worked out the details.The P&Z meeting, which is open to the public, but is not a formal public hearing, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight.
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