News in Brief
Frommer to stand trialASPEN A California man charged with more than two dozen fraud-related crimes will stand trial on the most serious of those charges, a judge ruled Monday.A trial date was not set for Peter Frommer because defense attorney Garth McCarty insisted on a hearing – at which Frommer will take the stand – to establish whether Frommer deserves a public defender.McCarty said one of his supervisors likely will represent the public defender’s office at the hearing; if Frommer is found indigent, McCarty could then continue to represent him. In court Monday, McCarty argued that Frommer was merely in business trouble and did not intend to defraud or steal. But after testimony from six witnesses in 10 hours of hearings, Judge James Boyd found more than enough evidence to bring the matter to trial. Frommer is scheduled to appear and likely will enter a plea on Aug. 6. The hearing on Frommer’s right to a public defender will take place Aug. 8.It’s history for property ownersASPEN Homeowners couldn’t convince the City Council on Monday to rescind a new law that prevents demolishing buildings until their historical significance is determined.Ordinance 30 was passed as an emergency earlier this month with little public notice, leaving property owners scrambling to understand the new law. As a result of the law, no building more than 30 years old in Aspen – commercial or residential – can be altered or demolished until the property owner submits to a review that will determine if it’s historically significant.Councilman Steve Skadron made a motion to rescind the ordinance and allow for more public debate on the issue. The motion was seconded by fellow Councilman Dwayne Romero, who voted against the ordinance initially because of the lack of public debate.”The issue for me is process,” Skadron said, adding he didn’t think the council should vote on an issue without adequate input from those who are affected the most. “In a sense, we created an emergency and I acted on it. That’s not how I normally do business.”The motion ultimately was shot down in a 3-2 vote.Councilmen Jack Johnson and J.E. DeVilbiss stood by their prior vote in favor of the ordinance, as did Mayor Mick Ireland. They all agreed that if the ordinance was rescinded, there would be no guarantee that the buildings that could be potentially historic wouldn’t be torn down while the debate continues.”I still think it’s an emergency,” Johnson said.Officials justified the emergency ordinance, saying development pressures in Aspen show that many historic structures from the post-World War II era are being demolished at a rapid rate.The City Council will consider amending the ordinance at its next meeting, which will allow for more public comment and an opportunity for property owners to make suggestions. RFTA relocates Hwy. 133 bus stopsCARBONDALE Construction on Highway 133 has forced the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority to temporarily relocate the Cowen bus stops in Carbondale.The Colorado Department of Transportation began work on the Highway 133 bridge Monday and must relocate utilities beneath the bus stop locales, forcing the stops to be moved. The bus stops are about 150 yards to the south (toward Carbondale) on both sides of the highway. There will be no disruption in service; buses will stay on their current schedules, according to RFTA.The CDOT work will last about 10 days.
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