Aspen City Council

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

This week the White River National Forest released an oil and gas plan. But, does that settle the matter on drilling in the Thompson Divide?

The City of Aspen continues to refine a new lodging incentives ordinance. At the same time, the council is asking the city management to give them better information.

The State of Colorado is not messing around when it comes to regulations and medical pot shops.

Could Aspen’s Little Annie’s return from the grave… again?

Your Morning News - December 9th, 2014

Dec 9, 2014

Lodging Discussion Continues at Aspen City Council

Aspen City Council has decided to move forward with considering changes to the city’s lodging regulations. The agreement took place last night, during Council’s last regular meeting of the year. Like a similar meeting last week, council members decided to continue looking at some affordable housing or fee flexibility for small lodges. Again, controversial changes for square footage, building height, or free market residency, were left by the wayside.

Your Evening News - December 8th, 2014

Dec 8, 2014

Eagle, Pitkin Counties See Fewer Assistance Fraud Cases

Officials say they are already seeing success in stopping residents from taking advantage of social services in Eagle and Pitkin Counties. This comes after a new focus on reviewing public assistance cases. In January, Eagle County dedicated two employees to review cases where residents are getting certain benefits. It’s modeled off of programs elsewhere, like Garfield County and the Front Range. The workers review every qualifying case in Pitkin and Eagle Counties. Rita Woods is Fiscal and Operations Director with Health & Human Services. She says most people on assistance do need it.

“But it’s our job just to insure that taxpayer confidence, in our fiscal fiduciary, that we’re checking to make sure the right people are receiving the right benefit at the right time.”

Her office points to a recent fraud case as evidence of the program’s success. An Eagle resident has pleaded guilty to using food and medical assistance even though she didn’t qualify.

Paticipatory Democracy

Oct 28, 2014
Roger Adams

Earlier this month, Aspen City Council scrapped a controversial lodging incentive ordinance.  Now, at a series of public input sessions, the city is gathering survey responses on the issues contained in the ordinance.   Three more sessions are set for tomorrow (Wednesday 10-29-2014) and the survey will then be available online.

It is an exercise in participatory democracy.

APR's Roger Adams attended a session and filed this report.

aspensciencecenter.org

Friday was the deadline for businesses and non-profits to submit an application to operate in Aspen’s Old Power House. The building along the Roaring Fork River used to house the Aspen Art Museum.

Fifteen proposals were submitted to the City of Aspen ranging from a John Denver Museum and Cultural Center to a hostel. Other applications include a brewery, a homeless shelter and a science center.

Aspen is not a cheap place to live, or even visit.  That’s especially true now that the summer season is picking up. During peak seasons, in the winter and summer, the cheapest hotel room in Aspen goes for about two-hundred-dollars a night. But the local government is trying to change that. Over the past month, Aspen City Council has been considering a new lodging incentive program that would encourage more hotel development. Dorothy Atkins has the story.

Facebook/Straighten Out The Rainbow Campaign

Aspen’s mayor and other city council members will be sporting a rainbow at Wednesday's Olympic send-off celebration. The mayor agreed this week to wear a t-shirt protesting Russia’s anti-gay law. As Marci Krivonen reports, a Carbondale artist designed the shirt.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Carbondale artist Brad Reed Nelson spoke up during the citizen comment period.

"I’ve started a program called Straighten Out the Rainbow and it’s a program to bring attention to what’s going on in Russia with the anti-gay laws."

Aspen City Council often hears from local groups on issues about zoning or preservation. Now, leaders will also focus on the concerns of a specific age group: Aspenites under forty. Councilors approved the Next Generation Commission at a meeting on Monday, January 27th. The main idea is to figure out what issues are most important to residents between eighteen and forty… and how to best tackle them.

Today we hear from Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron about his vision for the resort town in the coming year. Then we dig through the Aspen Public Radio archives and listen to some of this year’s most interesting and thought-provoking local stories. One Glenwood Springs woman was caught in a dangerous financial trap. And, her problem is somewhat common in Colorado’s immigrant community. As habitat for the Greater Sage Grouse disappears across the West, federal officials are deciding how strong protections should be on some Colorado land. Local stakeholders are watching closely. And a snowboarding veteran is battling a major injury with the Olympic Games a little more than a month away.

Elise Thatcher

The USA Pro Challenge finished just over a month ago, and planning for next year’s edition has already begun. Aspen plans to apply to host the race again in 2014... and officials have started looking at whether to improve on how things went during the 2013 edition of the race. Discussions range from road closures to conversations with international cycling officials in Europe.

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