Musick offers new W/J plan |

Musick offers new W/J plan

Allyn Harvey

Developer John Musick has offered to slash the number of affordable housing units he wants to build at W/J Ranch from 778 to less than 400.

In a Jan. 12 letter to Pitkin County, Musick said he would file a new land-use application if the Board of County Commissioners is willing to look past a lawsuit he filed last fall. Musick, president of W/J Ranch, Inc., sued the county and individual commissioners in local district court after his application to build 778 units was denied.

During the course of that county review, Musick offered to cut the project back to 561 units.

In an interview yesterday, Musick said his new, yet-to-be submitted application will seek permission to build between 300 and 400 units at the McLain Flats Road spread near Woody Creek.

He said his new proposal will likely be closer to 300 units, to be built in at least two phases, with the pace of construction and the final size to be determined by the needs of the community and the Aspen School District. He is offering to donate a site and pay for construction of a school if his project is approved.

“We’re willing to do this as soon as the county commission agrees with me to place the litigation in abeyance while the new proposal is under consideration,” Musick said.

Musick’s peace offering comes on the heels of the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority’s decision to divert a proposed commuter rail line away from Woody Creek. RFRHA decided last week to study a rail proposal that would n See Musick on page 11-A

n continued from page 1-A

align the tracks along Highway 82 from Gerbazdale to Brush Creek, bypassing the W/J Ranch.

Musick cited RFRHA’s decision in his Jan. 12 letter. “The new application will result in a smaller, redesigned hamlet at W/J Ranch and conform to the new reality of no train through W/J Ranch,” he wrote.

Musick contends it was Commissioner Mick Ireland who swayed RFRHA into bypassing Woody Creek. Ireland marshaled the votes on the RFRHA policy committee needed to divert the train to the Highway 82 alignment, Musick said.

“I think Mick Ireland wisely sent a signal that without the railroad, it was time for me to respond appropriately,” Musick said.

Ireland could not be reached for comment.

Musick’s letter is addressed to outgoing County Commissioner Bill Tuite and his replacement, Patti Clapper, who was sworn in yesterday.

He opens the letter by urging Tuite and Clapper to read an article he apparently enclosed about a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on takings – a concept of law that covers government action and its effects on property rights.

In the second paragraph, Musick relates the article with ongoing disputes over the county’s alleged attempts to deny him land-use approvals that have already been granted, including a purported move to force W/J Ranch to tear down a house occupied by a Latino family.

“Obviously you can read my mind and know where this will end up,” Musick writes, apparently threatening another lawsuit. “It need not end up there, however, as reason can still prevail. I have no desire to cause you, as my friends, continued grief due to litigation.”

In the third and final paragraph, Musick sketches his proposal to build a “hamlet” at the W/J Ranch.

Musick said he was partly motivated by Tuite’s statement last October, urging all the parties involved on both sides of the W/J Ranch development dispute to “stop the insanity.”

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