Misinformation being spread about Celestial project
The Aspen Times published a recent letter by Bruce Carlson objecting to a proposed residence in the Maroon Creek Valley, and to the Board of Adjustment hearing that granted certain variances to the project. Unfortunately, that letter and several previous ones have been rife with misstatements and misrepresentations about the project and its impacts, along with false criticism of the Board of Adjustment and the public hearing that was held.
This residential project has been in the approval process for longer than any known residential project in the Aspen area. It has been approved by two different Pitkin County hearing officers, and each time that approval was appealed. Finally, the Board of County Commissioners took up the project and approved it, as well. That approval was appealed to the District Court, which upheld the BOCC approval. After receiving the final action from the District Court, the project recorded a plat memorializing these approvals and began the building permit application process. The already-approved driveway and site grading required certain technical variances because they were located in setback areas. No variances were required for the residence, which fully conforms to all zoning requirements.
At the Board of Adjustment hearing several opponents attended and tried to submit testimony generally opposing the project. The Board of Adjustment simply sought to limit testimony to the matter before them: whether there was a hardship (there was), and whether the variances requested for the driveway were the minimum necessary and consistent with the prior approval by the BOCC (they were). There were no variances whatsoever required for the house itself, which at 8,250 square feet is slightly more than half of what zoning would allow. Certainly, this residence is minimal when compared with the large complex immediately next door and quite visible from Maroon Creek Road by its red roofs.
The Celestial house will not even be visible from Maroon Creek Road. Moreover, two separate engineering firms have determined that any avalanche or debris flow hazards that may be associated with the site are fully addressed (issues shared by many other sites in the area and throughout Pitkin County), and the project will even provide benefits to properties such as Mr. Carlson’s. You may well ask why the brouhaha about this. As consultants to this project, our best guess is that one set of influential neighbors has decided that they do not want any residence on the adjoining property and have inflamed others into thinking that this project will somehow destroy the entire Maroon Creek Valley. It is simply not the truth.