The City of Aspen is transitioning to annexing lots for affordable housing

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Aspen City Council took a first step on Tuesday to incorporate a 3-acre lot it owns in the Airport Business Center into the city limits to make way for a proposed 310-unit affordable housing project.

The Aspen Mini-Storage property, which the city bought for nearly $11 million in early 2020, is located in Pitkin County.

According to Ben Anderson, the city’s key long-term planner, it will be included in the land composition that will define the location of the Lumberyard affordable housing project.



When the city bought it, the property was planned for eventual incorporation into the city, as did the neighboring lumber yard when the city bought it 14 years ago.

Logs are stacked in rows in the lumber yard at the Aspen Airport Business Center on Monday, January 10, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

“This process, as described and that we are following, is identical to the annexation and zoning process that the city did with the lumber camp itself 11 or 12 years ago,” Anderson said. “So this process is essentially a replication of that process.”



The city bought what was then known as BMC West in 2007 for $18.25 million. A retrospective appraisal found it to be worth about $1.45 million less than what the city bought it for.

The council on Tuesday approved a mini-warehouse annexation petition, which will allow for a date, time and location for a public hearing to determine compliance with annexation procedures required by Colorado statutes, as well as the initiation of Zoning procedures for the property approved once annexed.

The annexation process requires four meetings with the council, including Tuesday.

The resolution Adopted by the Council, schedules a public hearing on March 8 to formalize the annexation request.

This hearing has special notification requirements, which Anderson said include notifying the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners, the District Attorney, the Aspen Unified School District and any special districts to which the property is subject.

The annexation and zoning of the property will be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the council will consider the annexation and zoning of the property by regulation, he said.

The mini storage package would provide access to future development and better address concerns related to the Colorado Access Traffic Control Plan for Highway 82.

Prosecutor Jim True confirmed that the annexation is subject to a citizens’ referendum, which could lead to a public vote.

“We don’t have to vote on it, it’s just subject to a referendum where someone else asks for it,” he said.

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