Survey won’t help city officials plan future for Cemetery Lane
There’s nothing that will trip up a planning process like asking people what they want.
About half of the 300 or so households in Aspen’s Cemetery Lane area have offered ideas on the future of their neighborhood in a mail-in survey. The 50 percent response rate was phenomenal, according to city planner Nick Lelack. The only problem is, the participants were fairly evenly split on a number of key issues.
The neighborhood, working with Lelack, now faces the challenge of finalizing the Cemetery Lane Character Area Plan despite a lack of consensus on a number of zoning questions and design standards.
Residents who have actively participated in months of meetings have been fairly unified, according to Lelack. Apparently, though, there are some other opinions out there.
“I think the only thing that really surprised me was how close some of the votes were,” he said. “The survey actually demonstrated that there are more divergent opinions on everything. I think there are some tough decisions to make.”
The character plan will establish a blueprint for future development in the neighborhood, but the survey results indicate homeowners there don’t exactly agree on how much additional growth is acceptable.
For example, 55 percent of the respondents believe duplexes should be allowed on lots that currently contain single-family homes. Forty-four percent of the respondents oppose that trend. Current zoning would allow 90 percent of the property owners in the area to build duplexes.
The neighborhood was similarly split on whether accessory dwelling units, often called caretaker units, should be allowed.
On the question of whether the neighborhood should be subject to new house-size caps recently adopted by the city, 42 percent said “yes” and 55 percent said “no.”
Residents were split by varying degrees on a number of residential design characteristics currently required in the city, as well.
On the question of whether new houses should relate to the scale of adjacent, existing homes, for example, 50 percent said “yes” and 49 percent said “no.”
Asked if houses along a street should have similar setbacks from the property line, 53 percent said “yes” and 42 percent said “no.”
On the other hand, a more commanding 70 percent of the respondents agreed the front door of a home should face the street.
A strong majority (82 percent) of the respondents want to see a separate bike/pedestrian path along Cemetery Lane, but on the question of whether on-street parking should be allowed on side streets, they were split. Fifty-four percent said “yes” and 43 percent said “no.”
Virtually all of the respondents indicated they own their home; they spend an average of 10 months a year in Aspen. Respondents reported living in the Cemetery Lane neighborhood an average of 15 years.
Forty-three percent of the respondents said they had participated in the neighborhood meetings that have gone into creating the plan.
Given a chance to comment on the draft neighborhood plan, residents frequently commended the work that has been done or advised the government to butt out and quit meddling.
“This is our area and it has developed naturally. Leave us alone!” wrote one individual.
Lelack said he hopes to have a final plan ready for neighborhood review by the end of March. The document is to be a further refinement of the updated 2000 Aspen Area Community Plan.
The Cemetery Lane neighborhood is defined as the area bounded by Castle and Maroon creeks, the Roaring Fork River and Highway 82.
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Posted: Monday, March 5, 2001
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