Aspen City Council

Your Evening News - January 16th, 2015

Jan 16, 2015

Explore Booksellers Bought by Non-Profit Group

Aspen’s Explore Booksellers has a new owner. A corporation under the umbrella of the Public Interest Network purchased the historic building and book business for five million dollars. The sale closed earlier today.

The bookstore opened as usual on Friday, but with new owners. Previous owners Sam and Cheryl Wyly listed the property in June. Since then, efforts have formed around preserving the business – Aspen’s only bookstore.

The Public Interest Network stepped in and the sale was finalized Friday. Real estate broker Bob Ritchie represented the buyers.

“Right now they plan to operate it exactly how it’s been operated. They’ve rehired all of the same employees.”

Karen Setterfield is the real estate agent who worked with the sellers.

“I call it a win-win-win. It’s good for the buyer, the seller, it’s good for the community, it’s good for the bookstore and the property and it’s good for Pyramid Bistro, the tenant in the property.”

Ritchie says the new owners plan to bring to Explore interesting speakers and talks, and deepen ties with the Aspen Institute.

stirlingpeak.com

Aspen officials are considering two new affordable lodges in the main part of town. Chicago developer and transplant Mark Hunt is behind them. He gained attention earlier this year for purchasing multiple properties in Aspen, including the historic Crystal Palace.  Some locals have wondered aloud whether it’s a good idea to have one person buying so much property. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher files this story on whether it’s happened before-- and the mood now in Aspen about development.

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.

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