Numerous city of Aspen board seats up for grabs

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

The pay is nonexistent, the work can be tedious and the hours are sometimes long.

But for those looking to get involved in community affairs, the city of Aspen has quite a few openings on three separate boards.

Four spots are up for grabs on the Planning and Zoning Commission, the entity that weighs certain types of development applications and passes along its recommendations to the City Council. The commission occasionally works with city staff and the council to set future policy in the form of municipal code amendments.

In all, there are seven regular positions (and one alternate) on the board. The terms of commissioners Bert Myrin and Jasmine Tygre have expired, according to the City Clerk’s Office. Both are reapplying to remain on the board, according to City Clerk Kathryn Koch.

Two other spots on the commission became available when Cliff Weiss moved out of the city — all members must be residents of Aspen — and James DeFrancia left the board to become a member of the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission.

Koch said the planning commission usually meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. There is no compensation, unless one counts the light dinners, snacks and soft drinks that are made available to members at each meeting.

“You might also get a pat on the back,” Koch joked.

Jessica Garrow, the city’s long-term planner who works closely with the board noted that a lot was learned from the recent Aspen Area Community Plan process (2009 to 2011). During that time, planning commissioners met over long hours and late evenings to craft a new version of the comprehensive document used to guide local government on development and community policy.

“We did lose some (P&Z) members to (burnout) because it did take a lot of time,” Garrow said. “We’ve tried since then to be good about scheduling them so that they are truly only meeting twice a month and by letting them know up front what they are signing up for. I think we’ve done a good job of that since the adoption of the AACP.”

Despite the occasionally difficult tasks at hand, serving on the planning commission can be fulfilling, she said.

“It’s a really great way for someone to get involved in their community and to help shape growth and development. It’s a very important position and we’re excited to see the applicants.”

The City Council also needs to appoint two people to the advisory board of the Wheeler Opera House, as well as two people to the board of the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority. An appointee to the Wheeler board is not required to be a city resident, Koch said.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Jan. 24. The forms are available online at

For more information, call the clerk’s office at 970-429-2687.