Pitkin County OKs cabin in Little Annie Basin | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County OKs cabin in Little Annie Basin

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Pitkin County commissioners granted approvals Wednesday for the construction of a 1,000-square-foot cabin in Little Annie Basin, on the back of Aspen Mountain, to Dan Bunta and Mary Manning.

The couple currently resides in a 386-square-foot, one-room cabin on their 40-acre property. It apparently dates back to 1891. The structure, the Annex Cabin, will be designated as historic and retained, and county commissioners agreed to allow up to 500 square feet of subgrade space below the old cabin if Bunta and Manning want to build it.

Commissioners, however, rejected the couple’s request for either 500 or 1,000 feet of subgrade space below their new cabin. Commissioner George Newman said he feared allowing a full basement would undermine the intent of the county’s Rural and Remote zoning, which allows only cabins of up to 1,000 square feet in backcountry areas.

In exchange for the historic designation of the old cabin, though, commissioners agreed to issue the couple one transferable development right, or TDR, which can be sold to a developer or property owner looking to boost square footage elsewhere.

Commissioners also granted a request for a 10-year vesting period – the amount of time the development approval will remain valid. The county code allows a three-year initial vesting period.

Commissioner Michael Owsley pushed for the extended vesting period.

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“They’ve taken a piece of Aspen history, preserved it, and lived a modest life up there,” he said, suggesting the couple may live in the smallest home in Pitkin County. “My view is it’s so special that we can be generous.”

As part of the deal, Bunta and Manning agreed to grant easements across their property to help further public trail connections in the basin.