Special events regs taking shape for Pitkin County’s rural and remote zone
Pitkin County commissioners pushed forward new special-events regulations for the rural and remote zone Wednesday, voting 4-1 in approval at first reading.
With commissioners focused on regulating events in the county’s most pristine and environmentally sensitive areas, they are backing off for now on amending the land-use code that would require permits for private and non-commercial special events on private land within the Aspen and Basalt urban-growth boundaries as well as the county’s rural area.
Commissioners will entertain a second reading on the rural and remote amendments at a public hearing scheduled for Feb. 25. They are racing to beat the March 18 deadline on their moratorium that places restrictions on special events, especially as wedding and event planners begin organizing their summer schedule. The special-events code for rural and remote takes effect 30 days after it is publicly noticed.
The moratorium, passed by commissioners June 18, came in reaction to last summer’s wedding event in the Little Annie Basin, which is zoned rural and remote on the backside of Aspen Mountain. A temporary chapel was erected, along with a 27,000-square-foot tent for the reception and other structures to accommodate the wedding. The land owner was able to allow a friend to hold the wedding there because of a loophole in the county’s land-use code.
Commissioner Michael Owsley cast the dissenting vote Wednesday, arguing that special events shouldn’t be allowed in the rural and remote district. He expressed concern that events could be held in barns in the rural and remote zone, creating the potential for fire and other safety hazards. Other commissioners, however, said the county could deny a special-event permit in rural and remote if they see potential problems.
“We’ve done a lot with this, and I’d like to move it forward,” Commissioner Rachel Richards said.
In other county news this week:
A list of names has emerged for citizen input and visioning committees in advance of the environmental assessment for the eastside terminal area of Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.
Airport Director John Kinney debriefed county commissioners at a work session Tuesday, as the county eyes redevelopment of the airport’s east side. The county is seeking feedback from community members about potential development scenarios for that part of the airport. They’ll meet Feb. 23.
The potential community visioning committee contains the following names: Rose Abello, tourism director, Snowmass Village; Gary Beach, manager, Buttermilk Metropolitan District; Chris Bendon, director of Community Development, city of Aspen; Debbie Braun, president, Aspen Chamber Resort Association; David Corbin, Aspen Skiing Co.; Linda Crockett, Colorado Mountain College; Jonathan Feldman, Aspen Young Professionals Association; Alan Fletcher, CEO, Aspen Music Festival and School; Jackie Francis, North 40 homeowner; Meg Haynes, Starwood homeowner; Rob Ittner, former county commissioner; Heidi Kowar, SkyWest Airlines; Leslie Lamont, Aspen Glen Homeowners Association; Cristal Logan, Aspen Institute; John McBride, Aspen Business Center; Fred Mosher, Atlantic Aviation; Brian Pettet, director, Pitkin County Public Works; Ellen Sassano, long-range planner, Pitkin County; Mike Scanlon, Basalt town manager; Bill Tomcich, president, Stay Aspen Snowmass; Jeff Yusem, Buttermilk homeowner and Matt Kuhn, of Woody Creek.
• An employee of SkyWest Airlines sued Aspen-Pitkin County Airport this week.
Susan Cronenberg’s suit, filed in Pitkin County District Court, alleges the county’s negligence led to her fall on a slippery walkway leading from the airport’s parking lot to its building. She fell at approximately 8:30 a.m. Feb. 26, 2013, the suit says.
“As Ms. Cronenberg walked on the public walk, she stepped on the patch of ice and/or snow which was covered with some recent snowfall and therefore not visible to her,” the suit says. “Ms. Cronenberg’s feet instantly went out from under her. She slammed onto the public walk with her leg trapped underneath her, and the force of the impact severely injured her left leg.”
Cronenberg suffered a severely broken leg that required two surgeries, the suit says. She continues to struggle with the injury, the suit says.
Her husband Robert is a co-plaintiff, claiming loss of consortium.
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