Fuel sales could boost airport rent revenues

ASPEN – Pitkin County could receive at least $3 million in annual rent from a proposed new private jet center—a sum that is 16 times more than what the current fixed-base operator pays at Sardy Field. Airport finance consultants explained the situation to the Pitkin County commissioners during a mid-August meeting on the airport master plan, which the county is expected to adopt this fall. The current draft airport plan includes building a new fixed-base operations facility—a terminal and services for private planes (or general aviation, as it’s officially called)—on the west side of the airport. The current fixed-base operator, Atlantic Aviation, leases a facility on the east side, and is expected to pay the county $167,000 in rent this year. The current lease was signed back in 1993 by Atlantic’s predecessor, and at that time was probably a fair deal for the county, airport director Jim Elwood told the commissioners.

Public in Paonia says privacy doesn’t justify Bear Ranch land swap

PAONIA, Colo. — Billionaire Bill Koch, who has made his presence felt in Aspen by suing the city over hydropower water rights and proposing a million-dollar guardrail on Castle Creek Road, has also attracted the attention of residents over McClure Pass. Koch, who is building a Western-style compound on his 4,500-acre Bear Ranch east of Paonia Reservoir and below Ragged Mountain, is proposing a federal land swap that would grant him control of a three-mile strip of BLM land separating his ranch. In exchange, he would give the government private land he controls overlooking Blue Mesa Reservoir in Gunnison County and an in-holding he has under option in Dinosaur National Monument, along with other inducements to win local public support. On Wednesday at a Paonia Town Council meeting, so many people showed up to comment on Koch’s proposed land swap that the meeting had to be moved from town hall to a theater across the street, where the crowd still filled the main floor, balcony and aisles.

Related to NYC court on Base Village: It’s the banks’ fault

After a foreclosure sale on the steps of the Pitkin County Courthouse on Nov. 16, the Related Companies and its entity Base Village Owner LLC no longer own the Base Village project. But the giant private real estate firm based in New York is still wrangling in court with the new apparent owners of the project, Hypo Real Estate Capital Corporation, which is controlled by a German government agency, FMS Wertmanagement in Munich. And the foreclosure sale does not become final until Dec. 1, as Related has eight working days to still make good on its outstanding debt through what’s known as a redemption period.

"The Slums of Aspen"

Two professors of sociology at the University of Minnesota have written a scathing analysis of Aspen’s use of immigrant labor to service its wealthy visitors and property owners, especially in light of two anti-immigration resolutions passed by the city of Aspen and Pitkin County in 1999 and 2000. In the book, “The Slums of Aspen, Immigrants vs. the Environment in America’s Eden,” David Pellow and Lisa Sun-Hee Park position Aspen as a prime example of global “environmental privilege,” which they call the other side of the coin of “environmental injustice” and “environmental racism.” Above is a three-and-a-half-minute audio news story on “The Slums of Aspen” with Professor David Pellow, and below is a second audio track containing a 23-minute interview with Pelow conducted on August 5 and produced by Brent Gardner-Smith. “If environmental racism and injustice are abundant and we can readily observe them around the world, then surely the same can be said for environmental privilege,” they state in the book’s introduction.