Woody Creek trailer park faces ‘draconian’ punishment for violations | AspenTimes.com

Woody Creek trailer park faces ‘draconian’ punishment for violations

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Woody Creek Trailer Park is not exactly the apple of Pitkin County’s eye right now.

The county commissioners on Wednesday directed the park’s homeowners association to act soon to rectify a number of violations of the county’s approvals for subdivision of the park. The violations need to be remedied by this summer or the association will face what one commissioner called “draconian” punishment.

Among the violations listed in a planner’s memo to the commissioners are the construction of several earthen berms without permits; a failure to have all the trailers in the park hooked up to new water, sewer and power systems; and concerns about a need for landscaping to screen a new water tank perched on a hill above the park.

The county’s zoning enforcement office issued a stop-work order regarding the berms in November, pending a decision about what the homeowners should do.

To enforce compliance with the commissioners’ orders, the county has a couple of different methods in mind.

If the park’s residents do not comply with the order to hook up to the new utilities by the county’s deadline of May 31, for example, the commissioners concluded that the homeowners association should assess fines against individual homeowners, starting at $100 for the first month and escalating after that.

And if the association itself remains out of compliance, the county will cease issuing permits for new homes in the park.

The park was subdivided in 2005, with Pitkin County’s help, as part of a plan to permit the residents to buy the land beneath their trailers. The homeowners association received a bank loan of approximately $4 million to redesign, expand and reconfigure the park in preparation for the sale of lots as affordable housing sites.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Commissioner Jack Hatfield about the creation of the berms and other shortcomings. “We have bent over backward to make this work.”

The berms, project manager Jim Korpela acknowledged, were formed to save the park the cost of having to haul away the entire mass of “Mount Woody Creek,” a huge pile of excavated dirt that stood for some time alongside Upper River Road, adjacent to the park’s expansion area.

The berm that troubled the commissioners the most is one between Cottonwood Row, a lane of the trailer park, and Upper River Road. The berm encroaches on the road right of way and is around 8 to 10 feet high, according to county officials. It must be shaved to conform with the original approvals that called for a much lower mound of earth.

The commissioners put off making any formal decisions about the issues until a Feb. 11 meeting, by which time they hope to hear from the homeowners association about its position on these and other issues related to the redevelopment.

“That’s fine with me,” said Commissioner Michael Owsley, who represents Woody Creek.

While he supports the county’s general position, he called the punishment measures “draconian” and said he is “reluctant to do this.”

jcolson@aspentimes.com


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