P&Z upholds housing regs at Aspen Village | AspenTimes.com

P&Z upholds housing regs at Aspen Village

Allyn Harvey

The quest by residents of Aspen Village to free themselves from affordable housing restrictions was interrupted last night with a dose of reality from the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission.P&Z members recommended, on a 4-0 vote, that county commissioners deny an application to lift the restrictions for residents of Aspen Village.The restrictions in question – residents must earn 75 percent of their income in Pitkin County, live in their home at least nine months a year, not own any property in the Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield and Gunnison counties, and donate 1 percent of sales fees to the housing office – were imposed in 1995.That was the year the renters at Aspen Village, a mobile home park 10 miles from Aspen, purchased the land under their homes from Aspen Village, Inc. As part of the transfer of ownership, residents asked the county to subdivide the 150-lot community so each person could own their property; the county agreed, but only if the residents would agree to the restrictions.The fact both parties agreed to the restrictions was reason enough for the planning commission to reject the arguments made by Aspen Village attorney Joe Edwards, the ex-county commissioner who led the effort in the 1970s to adopt some of the most restrictive land-use rules in the nation.Planning commissioner Steve Whipple, who was a member of the P&Z in 1995, recalled that both sides had very clear missions in mind when they began negotiating a way through the land-use code to facilitate the sale. “The county knew what it wanted, affordable housing inventory, and the residents knew what they wanted, home ownership, and they both got it,” Whipple said.Whipple recalled that Aspen Village residents were informed of the consequences of the new restrictions, but agreed anyway, so they could shortcut the land-use process with its growth management quotas and scoring system.P&Z members Sheri Salzone and Charlie Tarver agreed with Whipple that they could find no legal justification to release the property from affordable housing restrictions.Edwards’ argument focused on the fact that the residents were not informed of their options by county planners – including provisions in the county code that specifically exempt existing trailer parks from the subdivision process and growth-management restrictions.”I feel for you guys, but at the same time you made a choice about what path to take through the process,” Whipple said.

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