(Aspen, CO) A recently installed emergency telephone at the base of Independence Pass is the result of a “win-win” effort guided by Pitkin County’s Growth Management Quota System (GMQS) and enthusiastic homeowners. The “landline” telephone was installed earlier this winter at the school bus turnaround just beyond Difficult Campground, in an area with reportedly “sketchy” cellular service. The entire $11,000 project was instigated and paid for by neighboring homeowners who not only saw the need but who were looking for GMQS “points” for additional floor area for pending home improvement and construction projects.
Long-time resident Bob Oxenberg, who owns a home near the entrance to Difficult Campground, said over the years, many motorists and bicyclists in need of assistance after a mishap have knocked on his door.
“They’d come to my house to call 911,” Oxenberg said. “It happened four or five times a year. In fact, one winter night a mother and baby came knocking after their car had slid out of control and ended up precariously hanging half over a cliff. The cell service up here just isn’t that reliable,” he said.
Oxenberg’s neighbors joined the effort by paying for the ongoing cost of operating the phone. They received GMQS points because the project was seen as a benefit to the surrounding neighborhood, as well as to those who travel over Independence Pass.
“The idea of the Emergency Phone was identified by the neighborhood in their East of Aspen Neighborhood Master Plan. When preparing to go through the GMQS for additional square footage, the applicant and their planner were able to review the Neighborhood Master Plan in order to determine what the neighborhood needed. This is a great example of how the Growth Management Quota System was intended to work” said Cindy Houben, Pitkin County Community Development Director.