Still waiting for Stillwater | AspenTimes.com

Still waiting for Stillwater

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Pitkin County’s Stillwater Ranch housing project is apparently the subject of a new round of negotiations with neighbors who sued over the proposed affordable housing.

The county prevailed in the lawsuit, but still has not broken ground on the 17-unit development. At one point, county commissioners hoped to begin construction last spring after putting the project out for bids. Shaw Construction was the low bidder at $4.3 million.

Then, the roofing material to be used on the housing development became a subject of contention, and the start date for the project was pushed back to August, though the lawsuit was still pending.

In September, a district court judge sided with the county, rejecting neighbors’ claims that the county’s rezoning of the housing site was illegal. The ruling paved the way for the county to proceed, but it hasn’t.

The Stillwater project is not dead, according to County Commissioner Shellie Roy, but it’s on hold while the county engages in a new round of talks with the neighbors.

Stillwater Ranch is slated for four-plus acres along the Roaring Fork River, east of Aspen. The site is accessed off Stillwater Road.

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Neighboring property owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick, Vernon and Kathleen Friesenhahn, and Roll International Corp. filed the lawsuit. The Resnicks and Roll International own a mansion off Stillwater Road, near the housing project, while the Friesenhahns own a home at the corner of Stillwater Road and Highway 82, across the river from the housing site.

“Mr. Resnick has some ideas that might meet our need for affordable housing better than the ones we were pursuing,” Roy said yesterday. “He’s putting good things on the table. He’s trying to work with us to get a project we’re all happy with.”

The Resnicks also own the nearby 19-unit Shadowwood Apartments, which Aspen and Pitkin County attempted to deed-restrict as affordable housing in the mid-1990s. That deal, with former Shadowwood owner Greg Thomas, fell through, and Thomas eventually sold the property to the Resnicks/Roll International.

The acquisition of Shadowwood as deed-restricted housing is one of the ideas now on the table, Roy confirmed.

She declined to elaborate on the discussions.

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