News in Brief
ASPEN – The placement of signs to designate parking areas along Woody Creek Road above Lenado is on hold for now.Pitkin County commissioners on Wednesday tabled a resolution to allow seasonal parking along the road, where snowmobilers and others have traditionally parked. Commissioners declined to overrule the Planning and Zoning Commission, which rejected the signs as inconsistent with the Woody Creek Master Plan.Commissioners tabled action until Jan. 26. They want to know more about the P&Z’s stand and how the signs conflict with the master plan.Parking along the road by backcountry enthusiasts has spurred complaints from some in the tiny community of Lenado. The county placed signs where parking would be allowed last winter, but the issue sparked a lawsuit from two landowners who claimed the county’s action would formalize parking that has been occurring illegally.Commissioner Jack Hatfield voiced support for erecting the parking signs again this winter, to establish where people can and cannot leave vehicles.”It absolutely sends a message that there is no other parking along that road,” he said.”This is really about access to public lands. That’s what this is all about,” Hatfield added.
BASALT – Investigators for the Colorado State Patrol are looking into a number of possibilities of why a driver veered into on-coming traffic on Highway 82 Tuesday before getting killed in a crash.Sgt. Ryan Parker said an autopsy on the victim, Jose Maximiliano Nachado Andrade, 21, of El Jebel, could potentially detect an underlying medical condition. Results of the autopsy should be known later this week.The state patrol is also exploring if Andrade was using his cell phone, particularly texting, Parker said.Drugs, alcohol and speeding aren’t believed to be factors in the fatal crash, the state patrol said. Andrade was eastbound on Highway 82 in the Wingo Junction area when he veered into on-coming lanes at about 2:05 p.m. His Honda Civic collided with a Volvo heading westbound. Andrade was killed immediately in the head-on collision. The driver of the other car suffered serious injuries.Parker said there were no skid marks left by Andrade’s vehicle and no other signs of evasive action. It may be impossible to determine if he simply fell asleep.
BASALT – Rocky Mountain Institute on Tuesday night finalized an option to buy land from Basalt town government for a possible new office building.RMI secured a three-year option to buy 0.55 acres of land located where the Taqueria el Nopal restaurant is now located. The renowned nonprofit, which focuses on energy efficiency, will explore relocation of its Old Snowmass offices. It can pursue approval of a land use plan during the option period. The sale price, if the deal is completed, is $600,000.The deal was unanimously supported by the council.”This is a great day for RMI. We are excited that Basalt offers a great deal of visibility and vitality for our organization,” said Marty Picket, RMI executive director, in a statement.
ASPEN – The Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor Rocksolid Solutions just completed a project to mitigate the potential for rockfall in the Shale Bluffs area outside of Aspen.Crews have wrapped up work at mile marker 35 to 36, just upvalley from the intersection of Brush Creek Road. The project began in September, and the completion date was extended from November to January, due to numerous days of adverse weather, as well as some extra mitigation features added to the project by CDOT. The department added 75,000 square feet of wire mesh, which was placed on the slope under cable netting. The mesh has smaller openings designed to keep smaller rocks and debris from sloughing off the slope, as routinely happened in this area. The project also repaired a damaged concrete retaining wall panel alongside the downvalley lanes. The project was funded with the following: $1.2 million in FASTER funding (Senate Bill 108 – Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery) and $350,000 from CDOT’s Rockfall Program.
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City of Aspen officials are trying to figure out what the downtown core looks like this winter as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the state and in some parts of the country.