News in Brief
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN – Aspen election officials on Thursday counted the votes that weren’t included in the final tally on Election Day, and the result was no change in the outcome of Tuesday’s mayoral race.
In other words, Mayor Mick Ireland still won the election outright, avoiding a June 7 runoff with challenger Ruth Kruger.
There were 14 provisional ballots and seven absentee ballots that had yet to be counted or “cured,” the bureaucratic term for verification. Of that mix, only 14 votes were cured. Ireland added eight more and Kruger added six more votes to the total. Third-place finisher Andrew Kole did not pick up any new votes.
The final vote totals are: Ireland, 900 votes or 50.7 percent; Kruger, 725 votes or 40.8 percent; and Kole, 150 votes or 8.4 percent. Ireland needed 50 percent plus one vote to keep from being forced into a runoff.
Ireland will be sworn-in for a third and final term at the June 13 regular council meeting. Term limits prevent him from seeking a fourth term in 2013.
ASPEN – The city of Aspen is working to notify contractors that all inactive building permits will expire on June 30.
The Community Development Department granted extensions on permits in 2009 and again in 2010 in deference to challenging economic times, officials said in a news release. The department issued a “group extension” both times, which was applicable to all permit holders.
Roughly 67 permits were granted extensions up to 30 months, much longer than rules allow. Normally a permit is valid for only six months from the time it’s issued.
Since the extension, some of the projects have moved forward, but about 61 permits are still inactive. City staffers have worked with representatives of the development community to discuss the situation and came to the general agreement that June 30 is a realistic target to organize and initiate construction projects.
“We contacted every permit holder in the city,” said chief building official Stephen Kanipe in the news release. “If a project can be reactivated, updates may be necessary for the permit but the project can move forward. If a project is still stalled and unable to move forward, the permit will become void and any action on the project later will require a new permit application and must comply with current regulations.”
He said it is possible that individual projects with special circumstances may receive an extension, “but the blanket extensions are over.”
Applicants may be eligible for partial refunds from permit fees already paid. After discussions with most permit holders, it appears likely that most will be nullified as the projects are not ready to move forward, city officials said.
ASPEN – Gray Line has decided to discontinue daily shuttle service to Aspen and Snowmass for the summer and upcoming winter. Charter and private service will be available year round.
“We gave it a good solid effort but with the economy and the load factors, we just couldn’t justify the daily service,” managing member Chuck Murphy said. “However, we want the community to know we are available for bad weather diversion days and plan to grow our charter business to the valley.”
Ski Club and Group Charter business has been the backbone of the Gray Line Colorado operation for over 30 years from the Denver and Colorado Springs office. Operations will continue as normal in both locations but the Aspen airport office is closed starting this month.
Gray Line will still be a preferred provider with airlines serving Denver and Aspen for snow or bad weather days.
For more information, email Chuck@coloradograyline.com or call 800-345-8197.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.