New housing for sanitation staff? |

New housing for sanitation staff?

Janet Urquhart

A long-term plan to make over the Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District’s complex along the Roaring Fork River with improvements that include 21 residences is like stuffing “15 pounds into a 10-pound sack,” according to one City Council member.

The council, which met Monday, wants to tour the 3.5-acre site off Mill Street before giving the plan further consideration. Members also want to see “story poles” erected to give them a better sense of just how tall the proposed buildings would be.

The sanitation district is seeking approval of a plan to remodel and expand its existing maintenance facility on the property; expand four existing affordable housing units, which are rented to its employees; demolish a separate, existing four-unit building; and construct four new, four-unit buildings. The expansion would occur as needed over the next two decades. Eventually, the district would have 21 employee units with 35 bedrooms where nine units and 13 bedrooms exist today.

A 100-foot buffer between the development and the river would be maintained, as would the link to the Rio Grande Trail that crosses the north side of property, near the river. No buildings would be constructed between the trail and the river, but the extent of the development drew sharp criticism from Councilwoman Rachel Richards.

“This is an incredibly sensitive area along the river. I’m really taken aback by this level of development this close to the river,” she said. “It’s huge. I think it should be scaled back significantly, if it’s there. I think people will see it as sticking out like a sore thumb.”

For more on the council’s discussion, see Wednesday’s Aspen Times.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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