Work on seasonal housing project awaits court ruling | AspenTimes.com

Work on seasonal housing project awaits court ruling

Sarah S. Chung

Construction of the seasonal housing at Burlingame Ranch has been stopped before it began.

Bulldozers were poised to break ground Wednesday morning, but work was halted following a district court hearing on Tuesday.

Technically, the request for a temporary restraining order filed by the Maroon Creek Club didn’t force the project to stop in its tracks. Instead, the city and Music Associates of Aspen agreed at Tuesday’s hearing to hold off breaking ground until Monday, when a district court judge will rule on the specifics of the motion.

“[Tuesday] we agreed not to begin moving dirt, which rendered their request to stop work moot,” said MAA President Robert Harth. “Going into Monday’s court hearing, we’re still hopeful that the Maroon Creek Club would reconsider their position.”

Since April, the private residential golf club has filed two separate lawsuits against the city and the MAA over the joint seasonal housing project.

The first suit was over access to the project. The second piece of litigation appealed the city’s approval of the development application. It’s within the second suit that the club sought an injunction to stop work on the project. Tuesday’s court proceeding was a preliminary injunction hearing.

If the judge rules in favor of the city and MAA next week, and construction work can start shortly thereafter, the project’s timetable can still be met, said project manager Jim Curtis. Construction can still be completed by June 1, 2000 – in time for next summer’s music festival.

“But every day is critical. We really need to start moving dirt and every day it’s delayed puts more and more pressure on meeting that June 1st deadline,” Curtis said.

And it’s not just the music festival on the line, said Harth. If 200 seasonal housing beds being held up for a year, it will be “devastating for us, but will also be felt throughout the community,” he said.

“We urgently need the beds but so do RFTA drivers, ski company workers, restaurant workers, hotel workers,” Harth said. “This is not just a music festival issue, it’s also an issue for the community in general.”

The project, on the city-owned Burlingame Ranch adjacent to the golf club, will house music students during the summer and seasonal workers during the winter months.


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