Woods resigns planning post

Janet Urquhart
Julie Ann Woods, head of Aspen's Community Development Department, is stepping down to hang up her own shingle. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

Julie Ann Woods, Aspen’s community development director, is stepping down from the post to launch her own business, Elk Mountain Planning Group Inc.Her first client will be the town of Mount Crested Butte, which has contracted with Woods to assist in its review of the ski resort’s proposal for a new town center and terrain expansion.Woods submitted her resignation to the city on Wednesday; her last day on the job will be Sept. 30.

Her husband, Jeff Woods, will continue to work as the head of Aspen’s Parks Department.Woods, 47, was hired as deputy director of the city’s Community Development Department in January 1997 and later succeeded Stan Clauson as its director, overseeing a staff of city planners, the Building Department and the Environmental Health Department. Before she came to Aspen, she was Central City’s first community development director.Stepping down from her Aspen job was a difficult decision, Woods said. “It’s not like I don’t like what I’m doing,” she said. “The main reason for my leaving the city is the opportunity to really take on a whole new ski village from scratch.”

Woods said she feared working on the Crested Butte project while continuing in her Aspen post would slight both jobs. Mount Crested Butte is without a staff planner as it begins its review of an ambitious plan to overhaul the base of the ski area.Tim and Diane Mueller, new owners of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, recently unveiled their plans for a new town center in Mount Crested Butte and expansion of the ski area onto Snodgrass Mountain. John Norton, the former Aspen Skiing Co. executive who became president and CEO of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, recently stepped down from that post, but will continue to work as a consultant on the town center application.”I think it’s my role to review the project for the best interests of the community and hopefully help them negotiate a great project that will be successful and breathe some new life into the community and Crested Butte, as well,” Woods said.

Mount Crested Butte is the municipality at the base of the ski area, about three miles from the historic town of Crested Butte.The Woods family lives in Snowmass Village, but is active in Crested Butte. Their two children are enrolled at the Crested Butte Academy, where youths attend classes and train as ski racers. Julie Ann is a member of the academy’s board of directors, and both Jeff and Julie Ann are part of a team that is drafting a parks, arts and recreation master plan for Crested Butte.During Woods’ tenure with Aspen’s Community Development Department, she helped overhaul the city’s historic preservation ordinances with Amy Guthrie, historic preservation officer. She also helped oversee the reorganization of what had been a city-county agency into separate departments and improve the city department’s efficiency. The 2000 update of the Aspen Area Community Plan was also completed under Woods’ watch, and she was active on the Economic Sustainability Committee two summers ago that was the genesis of recent efforts to invigorate Aspen, such as the hiring of a downtown catalyst.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is