Pitco wants its scenic roads to stay that way | AspenTimes.com

Pitco wants its scenic roads to stay that way

Joel Stonington

A handful of scenic Pitkin County roads would receive stronger protection from development under a proposal commissioners vote for Thursday.A county staff plan to designate every state and county road within the county as scenic was shot down, but a plan for additional scenic road designations, slated for adoption with the new land-use code in April, would be far-reaching. A few county roads are already designated scenic, which subjects development projects on them to a stricter review process. That process is also under review and scheduled for a discussion Tuesday.On Thursday, commissioners gave first reading approval to creating scenic protection on Brush Creek Road, Capitol Creek Road, Snowmass Creek Road, Highway 133, Frying Pan Road, Castle Creek Road, Maroon Creek Road, West and East Sopris Creek roads and Owl Creek Road.The proposal garnered plenty of criticism from the public, however, at the joint meeting of the county commissioners and the county Planning and Zoning Commission.”You’re headed in the absolute wrong direction,” said Paul Taddune, an attorney representing Starwood, a gated subdivision on a mesa above Highway 82 outside Aspen. “I don’t think you have any experience applying these standards.”Others predicted the designations will mean new developments will require a lengthy scenic review process. “You need to consider the resources you have available to implement this,” said Glenn Horn, a local planning consultant.P&Z member Mirte Mallory, however, countered skeptics with passionate arguments for preserving the county’s scenic values.”Aren’t we different from other communities?” she said. “The breadth of what we are doing is large, but isn’t the time to do it now? What are we imparting to the next generation? This is about land use, this is about management and this is about protecting our valley.”Though county officials agreed to move ahead with the scenic road designations, a number of them stressed government shouldn’t go too far in regulating the design and review of buildings along the routes.”This whole thing is not a question of the imposition of onerous standards by the county,” Commissioner Michael Owsley said. But, he noted, there are other vacation and tourist-oriented places that are pleasing to the eye because they impose stricter planning standards. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com