News in Brief |

News in Brief

Last Chance open space purchase OK’dPITKIN COUNTY The Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the open space purchase of the Last Chance mining claim on Smuggler Mountain for $550,000.But because it is a joint city-county purchase, the final go-ahead requires approval from the Aspen City Council, county officials said.”It’s been a long held community goal to secure Smuggler Mountain,” said Dale Will, director of Pitkin County Open Space.The property is just south of the viewing platform at the top of the popular hiking trail, Will said.And Will called the Last Chance property one of the many “doughnut holes” both city and county open space boards have tried to acquire since the 2005 purchase of a large swath of land on Smuggler Mountain from Wilk Wilkinson.”It just isn’t worth the risk for us to leave this in the private world,” Will said, adding neighbors of the property have expressed interest in the land.”It’s money well spent,” said Commissioner Rachel Richards.”Our goal is to sterilize it as open space,” added Commissioner Jack Hatfield.Woody Creekers get go-ahead to buildWOODY CREEK Pitkin County Commissioners on Tuesday solved a conundrum at the Woody Creek Mobile Home Park.Seven residents want to move from crowded areas of the park to a new section, decreasing the density and fire hazard at the site. But the development permit stipulated that homeowners could not apply for building permits until the utility hookups now being upgraded were in place.That meant the owners would not have enough time between approval of the new utilities and acquiring building permits to make the transition, possibly leaving them homeless.Commissioners granted the residents of the trailer court special permission to apply for building permits before the utilities are complete and directed county staff to expedite the applications of the seven who must move immediately.But commissioners were clear that no resident would receive a certificate of occupancy until their units were properly connected to sewer services and water, and commissioners warned that homeowners who moved before getting a CO would be reprimanded.”[The residents] will be excited because they can move forward,” said project manager Jim Korpela.The new sewer is scheduled to come on line June 23.”I don’t think any subdivision has had the special consideration they have,” Commissioner Michael Owsley said after the decision. But Owsley stressed it is important to support affordable developments like the mobile home park.Garco’s jump in property values about normalGARFIELD COUNTY Property values in Garfield County appear to be increasing at normal rates, according to preliminary interpretation of 2007’s county reappraisal.Properties are reappraised every other year.Garfield County residential properties appear to have increased about 20 to 40 percent on average over the two years leading up to June 30, 2006, according to county assessor John Gorman.Commercial properties’ assessed valuations are expected to have increased around 25 to 50 percent during the same period.”Generally what we’ve seen every couple years is about a 25 to 40 percent increase in residential values,” deputy assessor Lisa Warder said. “So that’s totally normal.”Oil and gas valuations, on the other hand, have boomed. Assessments on oil and gas production and property were around $984 million in 2005 and $1.75 billion for 2006.Gorman said his office would have a better handle on the numbers come August.In August, the assessor’s office compiles its data into a more clear-cut report of valuation, revenues and levies produced each year. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

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