News in Brief |

News in Brief

Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” A local bicyclist was stopped in her tracks Sunday by an animal she believes was a mountain lion.

Having left her friends who were going farther, Marilyn Greenberg of Aspen was riding down Castle Creek Road around noon Sunday, in an area she describes as halfway between Conundrum and Aspen.

“Exactly where you can suddenly see the Roaring Fork on the left-hand side coming down,” she explained.

Suddenly, she saw a “buff-colored” mountain lion “with a long body” standing on the centerline of the road. The lion was about 50 yards away from her.

Greenberg got off the bike and stood in the middle of the road.

“I looked at her, she looked at me,” said Greenberg.

Then the lion turned and ran, and Greenberg stayed where she was.

Eventually a friend who had turned around rode by, and the two rode up the road until they encountered two trucks. The drivers promised to ride behind them until they entered town.

Perry Will, area wildlife manager for the Colorado Department of Wildlife, said such sightings are to be expected this time of year. The deer and elk are still down in the valley and so are their predators, he explained.

Will said he doesn’t worry too much about sightings as long as the mountain lions aren’t exhibiting abnormal behavior ” such as failing to show a fear of people.

However, he advised anyone who encounters a mountain lion to back away slowly, try to appear as large as possible (by raising one’s arms), and not to run or stare the animal down.

In March, concerns about a mountain lion near the Rio Grande Trail caused the DOW to post a sign warning of a possible mountain lion in the area. The sign was posted just east of where the trail crosses under the Slaughterhouse Bridge at the junction of McLain Flats Road and Cemetery Lane.

Carcasses had been found along the trail, and at least one witness claimed to have seen the animal.

At the time, DOW wildlife manager Kevin Wright said that Aspen is prime mountain lion habitat, and there are most likely mountain lions in the area at all times.

But Will thinks most of Aspen’s mountain lion population should begin moving out of the valley soon.

As summer comes, local deer and elk range at higher elevations and the mountain lions follow, he said. (Katie Redding/The Aspen Times)

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” The Snowmass Town Council voted to pay $47,436 to subsidize cost increases on three homes in the Rodeo Place affordable-housing project on Monday.

At a June 10 meeting, town staff had argued that delays on the part of the town contributed to that portion of the additional costs. The meeting took place after the homeowners submitted a letter asking the town to shoulder some of the costs the homeowners already had agreed to pay.

The homes, which were supposed to be finished eight months ago, have cost an additional $138,917. The town already has agreed to pay $44,046 of this amount, a cost associated with basements the Town Council had added to all the homes. The homeowners will pay the remainder.

Members of the Town Council had expressed their desire to shoulder the $47,436 at a special meeting on June 10. However, the council can only make appropriations at a regular meeting.

The development is located just southeast of the Snowmass Rodeo Grounds.

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” The Snowmass Town Council unanimously approved the first reading of an extension of a building moratorium in West Village and Faraway Ranch North. The extension would ban development until Dec. 31, bringing the total length of the moratorium to roughly 14 months.

Town Attorney John Dresser explained that town staff did not think their comprehensive plan review ” or planned code review ” will be finished by the moratorium’s current July 31 deadline.

Town officials previously have said that they do not want the moratorium to expire before the review is completed, lest developers hurriedly try to submit plans that would be subject to the old land-use codes.

Town staff expect to be able to bring their initial recommendations to the Town Council at the June 30 meeting, after which there is an extensive process that provides for discussion, amendment and public input.