New in Brief | AspenTimes.com

New in Brief

By a vote of 4-1 Monday night, the Aspen City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to extend the city’s building moratorium by four months. Mayor Helen Klanderud opposed the extension.

Councilman Torre said he would like to see information disseminated to the public about the reasons for the proposed extension.

Community Development Director Chris Bendon cited several reasons when he recently suggested the council extend the moratorium. The council originally thought the code would merely need tweaking, but it now appears the code might need major revisions. An extended meeting schedule for the moratorium also means those talks will coincide with October’s budget discussions and holidays. The aggressive schedule Bendon originally laid out has also taken a toll on his staff.

“I see your staff breaking down daily, and I’ve had enough of that,” Torre said before approving the first reading of the ordinance.

The council will hear public discussion on the proposed extension Sept. 25.

The season is changing, and the leaves are beginning to fall. The city of Aspen has a yard waste ban, which means no raked leaves in the trash. Take residential yard waste, including leaves and grass clippings, to the Rio Grande Recycle Center, but be sure not to throw plastic bags into the yard waste bins. Wood waste, potting soil, branches and other garden debris are not recyclable.

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Other options for yard waste include:

– Use a mulching mower so you don’t produce grass clippings; mulchers works for leaves, too;

– Compost in your backyard or in a compost bin;

– Bring yard waste to the compost center at the landfill;

– Have your landscaper take yard waste to the compost center at the landfill;

– Call one of the following companies to arrange curbside yard waste pick up service: Groundskeepers of Aspen at 948-1122 or Nordic Gardens at 963-3023.

For more information, contact Environmental Health at 920-5039.

The Garfield County Commissioners Monday put their weight behind a push to treat invasive tamarisk and Russian olive trees on the Western Slope.

The nonprofit Tamarisk Coalition, based in Grand Junction, intends to apply to the state Department of Local Affairs for a $95,000 grant to plan to control tamarisk along waterways and restore riparian habitat.

Tamarisk and Russian olive trees were introduced to the United States for use as an ornamental vegetation and windbreaks. They have taken over millions of acres in the West, pushing out native riverine vegetation. Both use significantly more water than native species. Tamarisk has depleted water tables, lowered river levels and clogged riverways with its uncontrolled growth. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

In supporting the grant application, the county also agreed to administer the money and committed $10,000 in matching funds. Six Western Slope counties ” Garfield, Dolores, Delta, Mesa, Montrose and Montezuma ” will participate in the plan.

The plan will involve three steps: identification, eradication and rehabilitation of riparian habitat, said Chris Treese, external affairs manager for the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which also contributed matching funds.

Although the county commissioners unanimously agreed to support the grant application and commit the matching funds, Commissioner Larry McCown questioned the plan.

“This issue has been looked at, planned and plotted for years,” he said. “I question if we need another plan. It’s time to go beyond planning and get rid of some of this stuff.”

John Heideman, financial director for the Tamarisk Coalition, said the plan will coordinate activities in all the involved counties and be able to tap various sources of funding.

“We’re talking about the entire Colorado River watershed,” he said. “Some areas are ahead of others and we all need to be on the same page.”

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