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News in Brief

Council continues talks on Lodge at Aspen MountainASPEN The City Council on Monday continued a public hearing on plans for the Lodge at Aspen Mountain, a mammoth development. The project, three-plus years in the making, would replace the 18-unit Mine Dump Apartments and a single-family home at the base of Aspen Mountain.The proposed development, which has shrunk significantly since earning conceptual approval, includes 80 hotel rooms, 21 fractional units, four free-market condominiums and 13 on-site affordable housing units. The owners would also build 32 deed-restricted units at the Smuggler Racquet Club and several more at the Aspen Business Center. The proposal also includes 257 parking spaces in underground garages.Developers would make improvements to the sloped South Aspen Street to make it safer in winter, and they would pay for a new high-speed double chairlift to replace Lift 1A. They have also proposed an extensive plan to minimize the effects of construction on neighbors and the town as a whole.The council will continue discussion at a later meeting. Council members Jasmine Tygre and Jack Johnson cannot vote on the project because of conflicts of interest, meaning the project needs unanimous support from the other three members for approval.

Voters to decide on widening stretch of highwayThe Aspen City Council agreed Monday to add a traffic-related question to the May 8 ballot. Voters will decide whether to add two lanes for general traffic and two lanes for buses between Buttermilk and the Maroon Creek roundabout. The changes are consistent with the state’s preferred alternative to the Entrance to Aspen, but voter approval does not pave the way for that scenario. The additions would be restricted to the 1.2-mile segment between Buttermilk and the roundabout, and voters will still make a separate decision about the Entrance to Aspen solution.Making the changes now could save the city a half-million dollars in bridge construction costs, and the new lanes could see traffic as soon as late 2008 or early 2009.

Dump truck causes midvalley power outageBASALT Homes, businesses and a traffic light at a busy intersection on Highway 82 lost electrical power Monday afternoon when a dump truck hit and pulled down power lines, authorities said.A dump truck working in the Willits project snagged power lines around 5:20 p.m. because its bed was raised, an officer with the Basalt and Rural Fire Department reported to a dispatcher. No injuries were reported.Some homes and businesses along Willits Lane lost power, and heavy commuter traffic was snarled at Highway 82 and upper Willits Lane because the signal didnt work. A Basalt police officer directed traffic.A repair crew from Holy Cross reached the scene at 6:10 p.m., according to authorities. Power was restored after 7 p.m.

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