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Pitco can opt out of initiative

Aspen Times Staff Report

When voters are considering the future of growth in Colorado, they’ll have the option of voting for Amendment 24 and its strict new limits on growth while exempting Pitkin County.

Amendment 24 would require communities to limit growth by drawing a map that delineates where development will occur for the next 10 years.

The so-called growth area must adjoin areas that have already been developed and be served by centralized water and sewer systems. Wells and septic tanks would no longer be permitted for most development.

The drafters of the amendment included a provision that allows counties with less than 25,000 residents to “opt out” of the requirements. Last month, the Pitkin County Commissioners voted 3-2 to give voters here that choice.

Referendum 1B says, “In the event that the voters of the state of Colorado approve the responsible growth initiative adding a new article to the Colorado Constitution, shall the entire county and all local governments within the county be exempt from its requirements for a period of approximately two years, until the November 2002 election?”

Commissioner Leslie Lamont, one of the three commissioners who voted in favor of including Referendum 1B on the ballot, said it was a harder choice than it appears.

“I agonized over that vote,” she said. “I support Amendment 24 – though taking a sledgehammer to the state Constitution may not be the best method – because I think the state Legislature needs a wake-up call. But I also feel like we need to give the voters a say. That’s why I voted to give them a chance to opt out.”

Shellie Harper and Patti Clapper were the other two yes votes on Referendum 1B. Unlike Lamont and Harper, Clapper is opposed to the amendment, but if it passes she would like to have a couple of years to see how things pan out.

Commissioner Mick Ireland, on the other hand, opposes the idea of opting out. “If it seriously hampers our ability to plan, we can opt out later,” he said.


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