Plans in works to shield water tank
WOODY CREEK Plans are in the works to surround a 200,000-gallon water tank with a berm, trees and vegetation in order to camouflage what its Woody Creek neighbors consider an eyesore.That was the tentative agreement Tuesday between the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners and residents of the Woody Creek Park subdivision. Some residents wanted the county to get rid of the tank and replace it with a new one underground. But at a cost that could be as high as $500,000, commissioners shot down that request, instead agreeing to look at proposals to surround the tank with trees, vegetation and a berm. “You can’t block it all, but we can break it up,” said Commissioner Jack Hatfield.Commissioner Dorothea Farris wasn’t completely sold on the idea. “I don’t think we should be paying to shield something,” she said, joking that it would be better use of county money to cover up some of the 15,000-square-foot monster homes in the area.Resident John Cooley, who lives on Woods Road near the tank, said the tank cheapens the area’s aesthetic value. “The worst is coming up Highway 82. It’s a horrible thing for people to look at,” he told commissioners.Said his wife, Joan: “It has changed the character of that beautiful ridge.” The tank was put on land next to Woody Creek Park, a trailer park, after the county recently granted residents the right to buy the land from the county. But in order to comply with strict fire codes, residents had to pay for installation of the tank on adjacent land, which Elam Construction Inc. owns.Jim Korpela, who is overseeing the infrastructural improvements at the subdivision, estimated the additional trees would cost $10,000 and that funding for the extra work would have to come from the homeowners association or the county budget. Korpela said that homeowners association has a $17,000 budget for the berm. John Elam of Elam Construction pledged to pay for half the cost of the landscape plan, but Lanny Curtis, president of the homeowners association, said it does not have money to fund the addition of trees and vegetation. Even so, Curtis said the homeowners association would be happy to cooperate with efforts to hide the tank with landscaping.Water doesn’t mean new developmentIn taking a closer look at Woody Creek’s water-tank issue, Pitkin County commissioners discovered a side agreement between the city-county housing authority and a Woody Creek developer that some fear could open the door to a development on the arid land above the trailer park.County commissioners knew nothing about the side agreement in which the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority granted the Woody Creek Development Co. water rights in exchange for a right of way between the tank and the subdivision, county officials said.But Commissioner Michael Owsley said the board would have a closer look at the side deal, adding, “That tank is not a precursor to development.”Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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