Romance or land use? |

Romance or land use?

Janet Urquhart

Reservations may be a good idea for those planning a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner out tonight. But a seat at tonight’s Aspen City Council meeting, where the controversial Burlingame Ranch is likely to dominate the proceedings, may require showing up early and grabbing a chair.Burlingame advocates are urging supporters of the employee housing project to show up “in great numbers.” HOPE (Housing Our People Environmentally) sent out a letter to Aspenites last week encouraging their attendance. It went to participants in past housing lotteries, according to Frank Peters, a member of HOPE.”We wouldn’t ask you to go if it wasn’t important,” reads the letter, signed by HOPE members Rachel Richards, Mick Ireland, Jim Curtis and Peters.Tonight’s council agenda includes public hearings on a pair of annexation ordinances – for the Bar/X Ranch and Amcord/AVLT properties. Both contain land associated with the housing project. In addition, the council will hold a public hearing on the proposed development plan for the Bar/X Ranch. Free-market luxury homes on the Bar/X, owned by the Zoline family, and the Burlingame Ranch worker housing – up to 236 units to be constructed over three phases – were envisioned in a preannexation agreement struck between the city and the Zolines. City voters approved the deal in an August 2000 election.Burlingame, however, has spurred a couple of initiative petitions that would change the way the city does business in developing affordable housing. In addition, Burlingame foes have said they will seek to overturn both annexation ordinances under consideration tonight through a referendum petition. If the council approves the annexations, opponents may be ready to hand the proposed petition to City Clerk Kathryn Koch for review before the night is over.The two initiative petitions have already been submitted to Koch, who is in the process of determining whether they contain enough valid signatures from registered city voters.The HOPE letter references the petitions, intended to “kill this project, and most of our housing program too.”It is vitally important that we defend Burlingame Village from this petition initiative and any other eleventh hour attacks,” it continues.It may be a long night at City Hall.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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