Lawsuit: Pitkin commissioners’ site visit to Aspen Mountain violated open meetings law

Aspen Daily News: An Aspen woman whose family owns property on the backside of Aspen Mountain is suing the Pitkin County commissioners and a neighboring land owner, alleging that officials’ site visit to the area in May violated Colorado’s open-meeting law regarding disclosure.

Larsen Family LP, which is represented by Marcella Larsen, filed the lawsuit Wednesday. It also names as a defendant Kloser Investments LLC, which the filing says owns land that abuts Larsen’s on three sides in the Little Annie Basin area.

Kloser Investments LLC in 2017 applied for county approval to build on its nearly 8 acres a 1,000-square-foot dwelling, along with a small utility shed, a wastewater treatment system and a solar array that could be 16 feet tall, according to the lawsuit.

On May 7, representatives of the applicant picked up three commissioners and “provided the [board of county commissioners] members with private, over-the-snow transportation” to the site, wrote Larsen’s attorney, Andrew Peters of Denver. The lawsuit does not name the officials nor the type of vehicle used. “Aside from unspecific mentions of the site visit at the BOCC meetings on April 11, 2018, and April 25, 2018, which generally lacked information regarding the date, time, meeting location and anticipated topics of discussion at the site visit, the site visit was not publicly noticed.”

Despite Larsen’s inquiries, the county allegedly failed to provide such information, and “no member of the public except those affiliated with Kloser attended the entire site visit,” the lawsuit says.

But not for a lack of effort: The lawsuit says a Larsen representative hiked to the site and observed the visit but could not join the full tour of Little Annie Basin and the parcel in question.

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