Aspen Government

Your Morning News - January 15th, 2015

Jan 15, 2015

Fishing Tournament Canceled

Unseasonably warm temperatures have canceled an ice fishing tournament near Rifle. The Rifle Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday the Mountain Air Mechanical Ice Fishing Tournament will not be held this weekend.

The tournament was to be held at Rifle Gap State Park. But, ice conditions weren’t conducive due to the weather. The Post Independent reports this is the third time in 17 years warm weather has canceled the competition.

El Capitan Climbers Successful

An Estes Park man and his partner have successfully completed a free climb of the Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The Denver Post reports Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson finished the 3,000 vertical foot ascent yesterday.

The effort took the men 19 days. Every night was spent in suspended tents on the granite rock face. The pair’s effort makes history as the first-ever free ascent of Dawn Wall.

Your Evening News - January 14th, 2015

Jan 14, 2015

Aspen May Have to Build More Government Office Space

The City of Aspen is trying to decide where to put its workers. There’s not enough existing space for them including the police department. Tomorrow, the City is holding the last in a series of open houses on the issue.

Workers are severely cramped, plus Aspen is losing lots of office space due to rental agreements. City employee Jack Wheeler is overseeing how to solve the problem. He says there isn’t enough office space for the City to rent in Aspen. So, building is the only viable option.

“We went through several different iterations, we presented them to Council, Council and the public pointed at two distinct options. Both options that we’re pursuing include police facility at 540 Main.”

That’s city property next to the Pitkin County Plaza Building.

The difference in the plans lies in whether to renovate and expand city hall or effectively create a new city hall near the Pitkin County library by renovating and expanding existing city buildings there.

Either wouldn’t be in place until sometime 2018. So, Wheeler is also juggling an interim plan.

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

This week, development can often seem like three-dimensional chess – we’ll get the latest on Mark Hunt’s lodging plans for Aspen.

A wider runway is on the horizon for the Aspen Pitkin County Airport. But, if citizens need to vote on it would it get approved?

Rifle remembers the life of Air Force Captain William DuBois as he is laid to rest.

Glenwood Springs will get a review of air quality near downtown.

Could an antique chair lift derail Aspen Mountain’s world cup racing plans?

How many weed shops are too many… one… six… sixteen?

And, I’ll have a conversation with a familiar name in the valley, and voice you hear often on this program, who is taking a leadership role in the Aspen Public Radio news room.

Joining me this week are Curtis Wackerle, Managing Editor of the Aspen Daily News and Randy Essex, Editor of the Glenwood Post Independent.

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Schools in the Roaring Fork Valley get graded- some of the best and the worst in the state are here.

Basalt has its first menorah lighting to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah.

Aspen’s new Airport Director takes the helm as County Commissioners decide how to widen the airfield.

New owners at Krabloonik aim for a kinder, friendlier era and they are receiving a “thumbs up”, so far, from a group whose aim is to make sure the sled dogs are well cared for.

Your Morning News - December 17th, 2014

Dec 17, 2014

Aspen Still Debating Mark Hunt Plans

Aspen planning officials could not come to an agreement last night about whether to recommend a possible new lodge. It's one of two similar lodges proposed by Chicago developer and Aspen transplant Mark Hunt.

The meeting was already a continuation of a discussion earlier this month. Last night, Hunt and planner Mitch Haas presented the proposal again: a three story lodge with rooms under 200 square feet, to fill Aspen’s affordable lodging gap. Called Base 1 it would Include a rooftop terrace and basement amenities like a bowling alley open to all. It would be located across from City Market and Hunt explains why he sees that as a good spot.

“We have our busiest retailer across the street. There’s a gym, there are offices, there are condominium buildings that actually operate like hotels. And yeah, there are residences there. But I think it’s a very eclectic part of Aspen.”

Of about a dozen public comments, the vast majority were in favor of the proposal. But concerns about design and requested exceptions led commissioners to hang up the towel for the evening. Stan Gibbs is Commission Vice Chair, and feels the building does not fit the commercial guidelines for the lot.

“There’s a lot of residential and affordable housing around there, and I think a big building has compatibility issues.”

Hunt and Haas did not comment afterwards, but were visibly frustrated during the meeting. Commissioners will take up the issue again at the beginning of January. A city planner at the meeting last night said the proposal would still be on track to go before City Council later next month. That’s when Council will also consider a similar lodge by Hunt, called Base 2.

Your Morning News - December 16th, 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Aspen Planners Consider Mark Hunt Proposal on Lodging

Planning officials in Aspen are considering whether to allow certain exceptions for one of the development projects Mark Hunt is involved with. The Chicago businessman has purchased more than a dozen properties in town in recent years.

The project would be built on Main Street, where a Conoco gas station is now. Aspen’s planning and zoning commission is reviewing a laundry list of exceptions that Hunt is asking for. Aspen Senior planner Sara Adams says one is canceling what’s called impact fees.

“So that comes to a total of about $91,400, roughly, in impact fees.”

Hunt is also requesting a height increase, more than doubling the amount of floor space, eliminating the required two to three affordable housing units while leasing more than twenty parking spaces in the Rio Grande Parking Plaza rather than building more parking for guests.

The proposed building would be three stories tall with a gable roof and a rooftop deck. The rooms would be on the smaller side. Hunt has said the effort is to boost the affordable lodging in Aspen. Again, city planner Sara Adams

“First floor is retail, restaurant, lodge lobby. Second and third floor are all lodge rooms. You know a hundred and seventy to a hundred and eighty square feet, average size, bunk beds.”

In the basement there would be amenities like a bar and a Turkish steam bath. The proposal is goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission tonight. Members will decide what recommendations to make to City Council which will consider the proposal. Another Hunt development that’s very similar will be considered in January.

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?

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a look at the week’s news with various writers and editors in the valley.

This week the Aspen City Council decided on a new plan to increase the number of lodging beds in town. But, is anyone happy with the plan?

It looks like the economy has recovered as there is very little vacancy in the commercial core of Aspen.

Does Pitkin County need bigger bike lanes? We might just get them.

A local service man, Captain William H. DuBois is being remembered.

Glenwood Springs wants to get tough on unlocked trash.

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Aspen City Council decides to take up lodging incentives again-- but much more cautiously.

Garfield County Commissioners suggest alternate routes for energy companies to reach leases on the contested Thompson Divide.

And the Glenwood Springs Police Department aims to crack down on people who don’t lock up their trash from bears.

The USA Pro Challenge announces Aspen will be included again in its route for 2015, only this time it won’t be the start.

Your Evening News - November 25th, 2014

Nov 25, 2014

Aspen’s “Free Parking” Ends Wednesday Morning

Free Parking ends tomorrow in Aspen. After putting in new meters over the past week… parking rates go back in effect at ten tomorrow morning. The new meters follows a parking scam with pre-paid debit cards that bilked the city out of several hundred thousand dollars over the past few years. 81 new meters were in place as of Monday. Meanwhile, the Aspen Times reports that the City Manager’s office will search for a new parking director after the first of the year as Parking Department employee Blake Fitch continues as interim director.

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