Official: No dogs at Burlingame, for now |

Official: No dogs at Burlingame, for now

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – The prospect of allowing dogs at Aspen’s Burlingame Ranch worker-housing complex – at either the built portion, Phase I, or the area under construction, Phase II – isn’t looking so good.

The Burlingame Ranch Phase II program coordinator for the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority sent a notice Tuesday to holders of reservations for new homes, those on a waiting list and others seeking information about purchasing one of the new the affordable-housing units.

It contains a statement from Aspen Assistant City Manager R. Barry Crook that says the City Council gave direction in early March to write the regulations for Phase II development “to include a prohibition against owning dogs in Phase II,” just as dogs in Phase I already are prohibited.

“For now, there will be no dogs allowed at Burlingame – in Phase I or in Phase II,” Crook wrote.

A recent survey suggests that about two-thirds of the 91 households in Phase I are against lifting the ban on dogs and around two-thirds of the more than 60 reservation-holders in Phase II are for it.

The topic was debated among dog-ban proponents and opponents with city officials during a March 4 council work session. There, council members urged current and prospective homeowners to work the decision out among themselves.

But that scenario is less than likely in the short term: Many people bought into Burlingame I partly because of the dog restriction and haven’t been willing to budge on the issue. At a tense January meeting of about 35 Burlingame I homeowners, the vast majority said they didn’t want dogs in their neighborhood.

There also is the question surrounding the process of removing the reason behind the ban. Dogs are not allowed on Burlingame Ranch property because of a stipulation in the preannexation agreement between the city and owners of a ranch that borders Burlingame. However, the Bar/X no longer is a working ranch, and the city has been talking with the homeowners’ association representing 13 single-family homes on that property with an eye toward lifting the restriction, which was set before Burlingame I opened in 2007.

Crook’s notice to prospective buyers and others this week states that the city is still seeking clarification from council members about their interest in amending the pre-annexation agreement with the Bar/X property owners. Should the City Council amend that agreement, the remaining prohibition against dogs at Burlingame still will be a matter for the Burlingame I homeowners’ association to decide, Crook wrote. Lifting the ban on dogs would require a minimum two-thirds vote of the association’s members.

“If council does not amend that pre-annexation agreement, the decision is out of the hands of any HOA,” his notice states.

Crook was attending a conference in Atlanta on Wednesday and unavailable for a phone interview.

Councilman Adam Frisch said amending the agreement probably would be easy to do and something the council would support. But council members indicated at the work session March 4 that they want the two sides to work out the issue to avoid the us-versus-them problems that would occur if Phase I homeowners keep their ban on dogs and Phase II homeowners decide to lift it.

“I think it’s fair to say that the city is more than willing to amend the annexation agreement if Burlingame I and II want it to happen,” Frisch said. “Whatever they want to decide is what I’m willing to support. The whole thing is moot unless they come together.”

The homeowners at Burlingame I seem to be holding all the cards, he said.

“Burlingame I is sitting there knowing that if they don’t want to do anything, the city’s not going to make them,” Frisch said. “Nobody’s going to make them sit down with their future neighbors.”

The idea of allowing dogs at Burlingame surfaced at a council meeting last year, partly as an incentive to attract more potential buyers to the presales program for Phase II but also as a potential amenity that would improve the quality of life for residents of both phases.

Construction on some of the buildings planned for Phase II started on April 1, according to Chris Everson, affordable-housing project manager for the city of Aspen. Site work was done last year.

Everson said Wednesday that of 48 units planned for the first four buildings that will be constructed this year, 42 units have been reserved. Next year, the city plans to move forward with construction of three more buildings and 34 units, of which 15 have been reserved.

According to the contract schedule, residents who have reserved units for Buildings 1 and 2 will be able to move in Dec. 9. The move-in date for Buildings 3 and 4 has been set for Jan. 22.

Everson said that at least two potential buyers of units in Burlingame II backed out upon receiving the news that the dog restriction would remain in place. A Housing Authority employee could not be reached Wednesday to verify the figure.

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