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Your Morning News - January 29th, 2015

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Petition to Control Aspen Development Gaining Signers

A group of Aspen residents gathered at a private home last night to sign a petition about controlling development in town. If it gets enough signatures approved, the proposal would go on the May ballot. It would require voter approval on any new development that doesn’t follow the land use code. Participant Doug Wilson explained why he believes it’s a good idea to keep exceptions to a minimum.

“In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s we worked really hard to come up with the building code that we have today, and it’s made the town retain so much of it’s delicious nature and I’d like to maintain that in the future.”

Wilson is one of a small army of people gathering signatures around town to support the ballot measure. As of last night, they had about five hundred. Bert Myrin worked with about 10 people to put together the proposal. While hosting last night’s event, he said preventing exceptions would level the playing field for developers and residents.

“It’ll create a less divisive community, because everyone will know what the expectations are for the size of the box and the impact it’s going to have on the neighborhood.”

If it’s up to voters to focus on exceptions, Myrin believes that allow City Council to focus on other important issues.

Organizers hope to submit a thousand signatures next Tuesday. Election officials require about three hundred to put a measure on the ballot.

In response to the proposal, Aspen’s City Council is looking at whether to change the land use code before the election. Mayor Steve Skadron said in a heated discussion Monday that he opposes having voters decide what development is appropriate in town.

CMC Holds Local Associates Level Tuition to Zero Increase

Tuition for locals will be the same at Colorado Mountain College this academic year. The board of trustees approved a zero increase on associate-degree-level courses for those who live in the district. Those who are in-state but out of district will be an extra $6.50 per credit hour at the associates-degree level while residents of Chaffee, Grand and Jackson Counties will pay $6 extra per credit hour. The biggest increase comes for those paying out-of-state tuition, who will see a $56 per credit hour increase. A news release from CMC says the school remains one of the most affordable in the state. At the same time, the board of trustees are expected to work over the next few months on comprehensive and strategic plans to improve student access and achievement through changes to the school’s financial aid programs.

Local McKennis Picked for U.S. Alpine World Ski Championships

Glenwood Springs skier Alice McKennis was named to the U.S. Alpine World Ski Championships Team today. The announcement means McKennis may race at Beaver Creek next week — against athletes like Lindsey Vonn.

Over the past few years McKennis has been battling a debilitating leg injury. The 25-year-old didn’t race in last year’s Sochi Olympic Games instead, deciding to focus on recovery.

She says the announcement didn’t come as a surprise because she’s had a good season. Still, coming back from two broken legs and four surgeries feels good, she says.

“It’s been a long time coming. It’s been two years of work since then to just try to get back to where I was before that. I actually think I’m skiing technically better than I was in 2013. So, I’ve managed to improve in that amount of time, which has been cool.”

Time trials leading up to the world championship races determine who gets to compete in the downhill discipline. Only four U.S. women are chosen. Opening ceremonies are on Monday.

City of Aspen Divisions Under Audit

The Wheeler Opera House, Aspen’s recreation department and other municipal offices are going under the microscope. That’s because the city of Aspen is undergoing an audit — prompted by last year’s revelation of a years-long parking scam.

The Denver firm, Colorado Independent Consultants Network, will be reviewing how money is handled at those and other city departments. They include the Aspen Golf Club, the city’s finance department, and, of course, the parking department. City finance director Don Taylor explains auditors will be reviewing procedures at all five locations and interviewing staffers who take in money.

Taylor says the goal is to test and evaluate what’s already in place to make sure revenue collection is done properly. That includes an especially close review of the parking department and why workers there failed to stop a glitch that cost the City as much as $800,000 in lost revenue.

The audit will cost the city nearly $50,000. The goal is to have the results by the end of February. Officials will consider extending the deadline if more time is needed.

 

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