City officials are trying to change a policy that bans dogs at the Burlingame Ranch affordable housing complex in an effort to attract more buyers to the project’s next phase.
The first phase of Burlingame, located on former ranch land across Highway 82 from Buttermilk, opened in 2007. During its construction, dogs were outlawed in the development in a pre-annexation deal with neighboring ranch owners, said Assistant City Manager Barry Crook. That agreement would have to be changed, as would the declarations and covenants with the existing Burlingame homeowners association (HOA), for the pet restriction to be removed on the entire complex.
Removing the ban could translate into millions of dollars of additional revenue from pet owners who decide to purchase Burlingame units in the project’s second phase, argued councilman Adam Frisch at a work session last week. The city is planning to begin construction on 48 more units at Burlingame in the spring.
This year, Aspen City Council moved forward with infrastructure construction on Burlingame phase II, which would eventually add 167 units at the site. In the past year, a total of 238 people expressed interest in living in the planned new units, 76 of whom became both qualified with the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority (APCHA) and pre-qualified for a mortgage.
Crook agreed that the demand for dog-friendly units is high and could translate into more interest in the new development.
“We’ve got all kinds of people who were interested [in a Burlingame unit] and dropped out because you can’t have a dog,” Crook said.
The fact that APCHA’s inventory is short on pet friendly units has been obvious for a long time, Crook said. By making the complex dog friendly, it will likely not only ensure that the new units will sell, but it will increase the value of the existing Burlingame units, he said.
The current owners of the adjacent ranch — which has been mostly redeveloped into residential property — have said they would be willing to get rid of the ban, Frisch noted. Although it hasn’t been formally voted on yet, members of Burlingame’s condo I HOA have also expressed their approval for removing the ban, said HOA President Stefan Reveal.
Not every member of the HOA is in support of the move, but most seem to be, Reveal said. Part of the argument against removing the ban is that many current Burlingame homeowners have had to give up their dogs in the past to conform to the policy.
“There’s been many members who have had to give up dogs and we’ve had to strictly enforce the policy,” Reveal said.
Still, those in favor of the switch outweigh those in dissent, he said.
Young locals voiced their concerns about the dog ban during a roundtable discussion on Aspen’s housing program hosted by the Aspen Democracy Initiative (ADI) in September. During the discussion, multiple attendees spoke in favor of creating housing that is dog friendly or withdrawing existing restrictions that outlaw pets at some properties.
Council does not have a deadline to change the policy, but Crook said the discussion is underway and city staff hope to remove the ban in the upcoming months.