P&Z split on push to downzone W/J
The Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission deadlocked lastnight over whether or not to take the W/J Ranch permanently outof the affordable housing picture.The only thing that is clear from last night’s P&Z meeting isthat the property’s fate is now in the hands of the Board of CountyCommissioners, which rejected a plan for 778 units of affordablehousing project at the Woody Creek-area ranch.After almost no debate on a staff recommendation to downzone W/Jfrom “affordable housing” to “RS-20,” the P&Z voted 2-2 on a motionto recommend approval. The tie vote means the motion failed underthe parliamentary rules used by the county. It leaves the BOCCwith no clear direction from the P&Z.Under its current “affordable housing” zoning, several hundredunits can be built on the 115 acres of undeveloped property atW/J. If county commissioners decide to downzone the land to RS-20,only five units can be built. John Musick, president of the corporationthat owns the ranch, has said the rezoning will result in five”mega-mansions” being built instead of hundreds of homes for workingpeople.P&Z members Peter Martin and Charlie Tarver opposed the proposeddownzoning. Neither was willing to support a move that would eliminateone of the last remaining parcels outside Aspen that they believeis suitably zoned for affordable housing.On the other side of the vote was Steve Whipple, who has saidhe is against affordable housing that will have an impact on theWoody Creek area, and Sheri Sanzone, who was absent from the P&Zmeeting three weeks ago when the issue was debated more thoroughly.”I can’t give up hope that they’re going to build affordable housingin town – where it belongs,” Sanzone said. The county commissioners are expected to take the issue up laterthis spring.
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