News in Brief
Construction of the new Aspen-Pitkin County Animal Shelter is as much as $600,000 over its budget, according to Ed Sadler, assistant city manager and the project manager.
The City Council responded Tuesday by agreeing to put another $200,000 into the project; Sadler has suggested Pitkin County and the private group raising funds to build the shelter also each kick in a third of the shortfall.
The shelter is under construction across Highway 82 from the airport, but alterations to the design and unforeseen expenses at the site have pushed the project over budget, according to Sadler.
The city is the first among the three partners involved in the project to respond to the budget shortfall. Anticipating the deficit, the city left $150,000 in unallocated funds in its asset-management budget to help cover the cost, Sadler said.
Silverton Mountain Ski Area may be one step closer to absolving its legal problems with Jim Jackson, an Aspen resident who owns several mining claims in and around the area’s boundaries.
The San Juan County commissioners are considering condemning or buying the land owned by Jackson, who filed suit against the ski area’s owner, Aaron Brill, in December. Jackson claims he has proof that Brill and his clients have repeatedly trespassed on his land and avalanche debris from control work has littered his property and placed his cabin in jeopardy.
The county feels it has a right to purchase or condemn Jackson’s land if he doesn’t drop his complaint, since the avalanche control work is a necessity to keep County Road 110 open through the winter.
Jackson and Brill have been battling since 1999, when Brill made it known that he intended to develop a guided extreme skiing area on land adjacent to Jackson’s property. Jackson originally had his own plans to develop a ski area, which included a tramway.
Jackson could not be reached for comment.
The Hyman Avenue parking lot where Peter Fornell is leasing spaces does not need a conditional-use permit to operate, the City Council concurred this week.
The city’s staff came to the same conclusion, but neighbors across the street, represented by attorney Herb Klein, appealed the staff ruling.
The lot is supposed to fulfill the off-street parking needs of the office building next door, Klein said. But, Fornell advertised the spaces to the general public and that kind of operation needs city approval in the form of a conditional-use permit, Klein argued.
As it happens, the spaces are being leased to tenants in the office building, rendering the neighbors’ complaints moot, Fornell said.
Council members concluded the city’s code is flawed, in that parking spaces provided to serve specific offices and commercial enterprises are sometimes leased to anyone, but they upheld the staff’s ruling on Fornell’s lot.
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