Community Development Staff - January 2018

 From all of us at the City of Aspen Community Development Department, we wish you a happy and healthy 2018!  It’s been a pleasure to work with you and we look forward to another year!  Below is a snapshot of some of the exciting projects and changes we will be working on in 2018.  It’s an exciting and busy year ahead!

Perhaps the largest change in store for 2018 is our conversion later in the year to a new electronic permit management system.  We anticipate rollout in mid-to-late 2018, but are committed to getting the system right, so a hard and fast rollout date is not yet set.  As we get closer to full rollout, we’ll be looking for a customer test group so we can make sure our public portal works – please let us know if you’re interested!

Each year City Departments work on Goals and Outcomes, which are various important projects and work the Department resolves to complete in that year.  This year, we have some exciting goals that we want to share with you:

  • We are reworking how we get feedback from you, our customers.  We’ve found that yearly surveys don’t provide you or us with an opportunity to celebrate great work or troubleshoot issues in real time.  We will be convening some focus groups to follow up on some work from the fall.  If you are interested in helping us in this effort, let us know!
  • We will have at least 6 outreach sessions this year to ensure the community understands any code or policy changes that come as part of code amendments or process improvements.  Look for those opportunities throughout the year!
  • We will be piloting an Expedited Tenant Finish Permit, which would provide a faster permit review for interior-only permits in the Commercial Core.  More information on this new opportunity will come later this spring!
  • We are working on ensuring clearer building permit requirements for Historic Preservation projects.  We just released an RFP, which closes on January 29.  Expect to see requests for customer feedback prior to project completion, and an estimated project completion in August.
  • Expect an update to the Z Sheets later this summer, with a goal of better incorporating them into other sheets typically required in the permit submission set.

Each year City Council has a series of Top Ten Goals, and Community Development has a role in many of them, but three goals are the main projects for the department:

  • Supporting and expanding the Uphill Economy (Goal 3).  Please join the Uphill Friday Meet-up and Breakfasts!  Meet at Buttermilk at 7:30am Fridays through the ski season, as conditions allow – check out the ACRA Events Calendar and the Aspen Skimo & Uphill Facebook Page for real-time updates each week. And expect planning work later in 2018 on an upper valley Uphill Recreation Plan, with an RFP release for assistance later this month or next. 
  • Exploring opportunities to retain and attract small and unique businesses (Goal 5).  The Expedited Tenant Finish Permit is part of the work on this goal, as is analyzing other opportunities for businesses.  Expect more outreach from us on this goal in mid-to-late 2018.
  • Exploring opportunities to decrease the community’s carbon footprint, including ways to reduce the energy usage in buildings (Goal 7). We will continue to update you about progress on this goal throughout the year.

We are working on a number of policies and special projects, including:

  • Continued work on Lift 1A and a potential solution to bringing the lift further into town.  An update on the next phase of that work is scheduled with City Council on 1/16, and the next study phase is anticipated to last 8 weeks.
  • Changes to the Miscellaneous Regulations section of the code in an effort to make that section easier to understand.  A big thanks to our Advisory Group who is helping us on that!  Expect more updates and requests for your feedback in future newsletters.  We have a work session on January 29th with City Council to review potential changes, so tune in if you’re interested.
  • Reviewing, in conjunction with APCHA, the Housing Credits Program and updates to the cash-in-lieu numbers (which haven’t been updated in 3 years).  This is in initial phases, and a check-in with P&Z is scheduled for 1/16, APCHA on 1/17, and City Council on 1/30.  Updates on this project will be featured in future newsletters.
  • Continuation of Lean Six Sigma based improvements in both the land use review process and building permit review process.  We hope to have updates to you on new submission review opportunities, land use deadlines, and improved communication tools throughout the year.

Please let us know if you have questions or would like to participate in any of our 2018 initiatives.  You can reach me directly at or 970.429.2780.

Happy 2018!

Jessica Garrow Signature

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