Pets are a go at Truscott | AspenTimes.com
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Pets are a go at Truscott

Janet Urquhart

Upping the pet-friendly factor in affordable housing, the Aspen City Council agreed Tuesday to experiment with pet ownership in some units at Truscott Place, its rental housing next to the city golf course.And, as a general rule, pets – dogs, cats and other critters – will be allowed in affordable units that are sold to individual buyers. That policy will apply to future city housing projects, as well as privately built affordable housing, unless an acceptable argument can be made to convince the council that a pet ban, or dog ban, at a particular complex is necessary.The city already allows pets – dogs, cats or both – in 89 percent of its sale units, according to the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority. Pet ownership in government-owned rental units, however, is another matter.Councilwoman Rachel Richards suggested experimenting with pets at Truscott Place. Housing office staffers were directed to work out the details, which are likely to include a bumped-up security deposit for pet owners, rules on noise and the ability to send a renter packing if their dog is running free on the golf course.”I think it’s time we allow pets in our rental projects – give it a go,” Richards said. “Let’s give it a try rather than being afraid of that.”Most rental units available on the free market don’t allow dogs, noted Councilman Tim Semrau.”It would be a real service if we open up on this,” he said.”I think there are ways we can make this work,” Councilman Torre agreed.Bill Tuite, property management supervisor for the housing authority, suggested surveying residents in several Truscott buildings to identify which one is best to experiment with pets.One or more of the three Phase 1 buildings are probably most appropriate, he said. Each building contains 10 to 12 apartments.In ownership units within the affordable housing program, the council agreed it’s no longer appropriate to ban dogs in a proposed new project just because neighbors lobby the council to do so before the units are even built. If a new project is going to prohibit pets, it should be for a valid land-use consideration, the council decided. For example, dogs will be prohibited at the planned Burlingame Ranch because the project borders a cattle ranch.At the renovated Bavarian Inn, where affordable condos are now being sold, the council agreed in advance to ban dogs at the urging of neighbors. The rule can only be overturned if 100 percent of the new homeowners agree.”That was a bad decision,” Mayor Helen Klanderud said of the council’s action.In the case of privately built projects, pets should only be banned in the affordable housing if they’re banned in the free-market component, as well, the council agreed.Only Councilman Terry Paulson voiced objections to the presumption that dogs will be allowed in future sale projects.”It would be great if all dog owners really were responsible and did the right thing. I don’t always find that among these dog owners,” he said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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