Recently at Aspen Journalism, we published a story looking at how a proposal to build teacher housing in a rural area of Pitkin County clashes with existing zoning and, potentially, neighborhood values. The piece by Rick Carroll, writing for our environment desk, broke news about a plan by longtime Aspenite Dick Butera to donate land he owns in the Castle Creek Valley to the Aspen School District, in order to build 30 units of staff housing in partnership with Aspen Valley Hospital. Both organizations are feeling the pinch of the housing crunch and appear eager to pursue the project. However, the road ahead looks rocky. The land is located outside the urban growth boundary and would require a rezoning to realize the density proposed. In addition, it sits in a subdivision where covenants prohibit further development. Besides Butera, who lives in the subdivision, the only other home there is owned by a billionaire couple who have expressed apprehension and note that any changes to the subdivision agreement require their assent. The issue puts two strongly held community values — open space and affordable housing — on a potential collision course. We’ll be here to see how it shakes out.
In addition, Aspen Journalism’s recent coverage includes a piece from Water Desk Editor Heather Sackett checking in on the new director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Lauren Ris recently took over as head of the state’s most important water-management agency for Becky Mitchell, and made her first official visits as CWCB director to the Colorado River Water Conservation District earlier this month. The conversation centered around water-conservation programs that would pay farmers to fallow their fields — long a controversial prospect on the Western Slope. Ris confirmed that she shares many of the River District’s concerns about potential harm that could result from the programs if they are rolled out in a way that disproportionately impacts any particular basin.
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Editor and executive director
Ris says CWCB shares concerns on spreading out impacts
By Heather Sackett | October 23, 2023
At the River District’s quarterly meeting, held Wednesday, Ris talked with board members about two water conservation programs, both of which have long been contentious and critical issues for the district.
Neighbors cite impacts, property restrictions; density runs afoul of zoning
By Rick Carroll | October 15, 2023
“We’re no different from anyone else in our valley looking for quality employees,” the superintendent said, “and it’s the first question asked on every single application whether it’s a mechanic, a teacher, a bus driver or a school principal.”
Streamflows are down from last week
October 23, 2023
• The Fork ran at Emma ran at 336 cfs or 96.8% of average on Oct. 22. That’s down from 383 cfs or 100.5% of average on Oct. 15.
• Lake Powell was 37.49% full on Oct. 22, down from 37.52% last week.
• High air temperatures at the Aspen airport went from 38°F on Oct. 12 to 70°F on Oct. 16, which is about 14 degrees above average.
Transbasin diversion resumed last week slowing down streamflow in the upper stretches of the Roaring Fork River.
By Laurine Lassalle | October 16, 2023
• The Fork ran at 23 cfs at Stillwater and 138 cfs below Maroon Creek on Oct. 15, down from last week’s 33.6 cfs and 166 cfs, respectively.
• Lake Powell’s elevation has lost 3.6 inches since last week.
• High air temperatures at ASE went down as low as 38°F on Oct. 12, or 20 degrees below normal.
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