North Forty nears final OK, but some issues remain |

North Forty nears final OK, but some issues remain

Jeremy Heiman

Only months away from the projected construction start, the developer of the North Forty affordable housing development still has some details to work out.

Lance Clarke, deputy director of community development for Pitkin County, told the Board of County Commissioners Wednesday that developer John McBride still needs to arrange for drinking water for the development, present a plan to reduce construction dust and provide a plan for walking paths. The developer must also post a deposit to cover half the cost of water and sewer tap fees for each lot in the project.

McBride has proposed 72 deed-restricted RO – or Resident Occupied – lots on about 20 acres adjacent to the Aspen Airport Business Center. The commissioners voted Wednesday to approve the final plat of the development on first reading. The unresolved matters must be cleared up before they grant final approval on second reading.

Last April, the BOCC agreed to require McBride to cover half the estimated $20,000 tap fee for each lot to improve the development’s affordability. This was after Housing Board members and commissioners watched the affordability of houses in the development dwindle as the project passed through the approval process.

Jamie Knowlton, representing McBride, told the commissioners the requirement should be waived because the projected average cost of the most expensive 36 lots has come in at $135,000 rather than the previously estimated $150,000. But Clarke recommended that the tap fee subsidy by McBride remain.

Caretaker dwelling units may be allowed in the development both to accommodate more employees and to increase affordability for home buyers. But the total number of CDUs must be determined by a traffic study.

The approval of the project last year was based on calculations that indicated the development would not overtax the capacity of the existing signalized intersection on Highway 82, but automobile trips generated by additional CDUs could upset that balance.

Although all the parties involved would prefer to see the existing traffic light at the AABC replaced by a new intersection just downvalley, that will have to wait until funds are available.

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