SURROUND YOURSELF WITH NATURAL BEAUTY

Close enough to the action, but far enough to be peaceful and relaxing.

TENNIS

Come rain or shine, the ball is always in play at Starwood in Aspen’s Rocky Mountains. Set up a game with your neighbors or invite your friends for a private match surrounded by natural beauty.

CONFERENCE ROOM

A room with a view. Starwood offers well appointed meeting and conference room space for family and social reunions, association gatherings, and other special functions. Available year round to all residents.

24 HOUR SECURITY

Starwood is one of the only private home developments in Aspen that offers 24 hour gated security. Our security team takes pride in protecting the homeowners and maintaining a peaceful environment away from traffic and noise.

OFFICE

Our office is here to help all residents of Starwood, so please do not hesitate to call on us. Our staff is prepared with the latest information about the community. Come by or give us a call. You are welcome anytime.

PACKAGE SERVICE AND MAIL ROOM

No need to worry about receiving or missing packages. The security team also offers package service at the gate as an added convenience. Additionally, there is a mail room with post office  boxes for all residents.

RESIDENT MANAGER

Starwood has a full time resident manager to oversee the operation of the facilities and the properties. They are available to assist homeowners and on-call for emergencies should the need arise.

A PRIVATE SANCTUARY

Balancing relaxation and adventure. Starwood is an idyllic retreat setting amid the magnificent mountains of Aspen.

THE HISTORY OF STARWOOD

Since 1962 Starwood has been making lasting memories for mountain lovers from all over the world.

In 1962, Edgar and Pauline Stern purchased 960 acres from Art and Amelia Trentaz for the respectable sum of $360,000.00.  Edgar Stern’s original vision for Starwood is seen in the blueprint drawing which is on display in the vestibule of the Starwood Office.  The drawing shows a robust community of residential and commercial properties surrounding a several hundred-acre ski area, with lakes, roads and recreation areas, equestrian trails and more.  This vision was proposed to the Pitkin County Commissioners in the mid-nineteen sixties.  According to Ellie Brickham, one of Starwood’s first residents, and the architectural advisor to Mr. Stern, the thought of creating another ski area to compete for the business of the relatively few skiers of that day was not popular with the commissioners, and the plan was rejected.   As a result, the Starwood Land Company developed into a rural residential community for people with an appreciation for the alpine mountain life style and a desire for privacy and seclusion.  As stated in the initial sales brochure “It is the primary intent of the plan for the future development of Starwood that the beauty of Starwood’s pastures and hillsides be preserved and that the present outlook of each homesite remain essentially unchanged.

Starwood was originally very much a rural community, accessed via gravel roads with no guard rails.  Starwood was populated with adventurous residents seeking the serenity of the semi-remote, rural alpine mountain environment that Starwood offered in those days.

In 1971 Bob Larson was contracted to plow snow, although Sepp Kessler served as the ranch manager and operated the community water system.  Larson Drive and Kessler Drive were named after these two gentlemen.  In 1972 the opportunity to earn some revenue for Starwood was taken up, and fifty head of cattle were grazed at $4.00 per head per month.

According to some of the contractors during that time, Edgar Stern conducted business with a handshake and showed his appreciation for a job well done by naming the streets after the men whom he relied upon to create his vision of Starwood.  Stewart performed survey and title work, Johnson engineering, and over the coming years Eppley, Larson, Danielson, Carroll and Buchanan built roads and installed infrastructure.

In 1974 the Polgar Agreement was reached between Starwood and the developer Edgar Stern. Among other things, this agreement conveyed the thirty five acre tract that is the Stewart Drive pasture, and is the current site of the cross country ski trail for the Starwood Homeowners Association.  In that agreement Edgar Stern retained the use of the land until such time as he no longer held a property interest in Starwood.

Spread out across a high mesa just under three miles northwest of Aspen, Starwood encompasses 960 acres of some of the most stunning Colorado ranchland ever to be bought, subdivided, and sold. The southwest-facing orientation and 8,400-foot elevation (more than 600 feet above the valley floor) give it what one resident calls “that big sky phenomenon”. From up here you can watch storms roll in from miles away.  On clear evenings at dusk, the sun appears to dally a little longer before dipping behind Mount Daly, to the southwest. A drive along Starwood’s sinuous, impeccably maintained roads serves up vista after jaw-dropping vista of the Elk Mountain Range, from Independence Pass to the east all the way to Mount Sopris, near Carbon

Starwood wasn’t always deemed desirable however. Back in 1962, when developer Edgar Stern bought the former Trentaz potato and cattle ranch and divided it into 106 parcels, lots were hard to sell, even for the paltry asking price of $7,500. Starwood was then considered too far from town. Now the refuge it provides from busy Aspen is highly valued. Generous lot sizes (typically two to five acres each), abundant common and open space, and dense natural vegetation have helped the community retain its rural character. Additionally, homeowners in Starwood love the views. Looking out of the windows of most of the homes, Aspen’s four ski areas are immediately visible. If not for the round-the-clock manned gatehouse and occasional 17,000-plus-square-foot mansion punctuating the hillside, one could forget Aspen’s bustling hub is just over a ten-minute drive away.

Starwood residents have run the gamut from movie stars to pop stars to sports stars to media moguls, best-selling authors, film producers and highly successful business people. Today the mix also includes second homeowners, retirees, a few longtime locals, young families, newcomers to the valley, and even some returnees who grew up in Aspen but settled elsewhere after college.  Some homeowners speak of a strong sense of community among the full-time residents. Others say they have little contact with their neighbors. But in choosing Starwood they are all satisfying a shared desire for a number of things: a pristine natural setting with privacy, serenity, and safety.

The Starwood subdivision is under the auspices of the Starwood Metropolitan District which maintains the area’s infrastructure: seven miles of roads, state-of-the-art water systems, cross-country ski and hiking trails, tennis courts, common pastures, mail room, and the Starwood security gate. The on-site manager lives in a home on the Starwood property, adjacent to the Starwood Homeowners Association and Metropolitan District office.

Road concerns arose when damage from truck traffic began taking a toll on the newly paved roads.   In 1985 the Homeowners Association implemented a road-impact fee based upon research provided by Dean Gordon of Schmueser Gordon Mayer Engineering. Dean Gordon continues to consult to Starwood on engineering matters to this day.

When Starwood’s Attorney, Paul Taddune successfully defended the ability of the Homeowners Association to charge road-impact fees, large investments in road infrastructure were undertaken, and eventually ownership of Trentaz Drive was returned to Starwood.  Major improvements to Trentaz were made, as well as to North Starwood Drive and Buchanan Drive.  All Starwood roads were paved and over the years maintained with the revenue from the fees charged for construction vehicles’ use of Starwood’s roads. The Maintenance Building was completed in 1992 and following several years of discussion and planning, a new Starwood office was built in 2009.

Action to privatize Starwood roads became a popular subject as one of Starwood’s new homeowners, John Denver, became world famous in the entertainment business.  Apparently this generated a good deal of excess traffic into Starwood, and at the end of 1972 all the roads were deeded to the Starwood Homeowners Association.  Discussions then began about deputizing Sepp Kessler, installing an electric gate, and hiring a gatekeeper to control access. So in 1974 off-duty Aspen Police Officers were hired for $5.00 per hour to work at the entrance to Starwood to check for unauthorized visitors.

By August 1975, all of the lots on Johnson Drive had been sold, and a rush of housing development was beginning.   John Denver offered to make a substantial financial contribution towards the operating costs of a Security gate at the entrance of Starwood, and by December a gatehouse was constructed and manned during daylight hours.

Until 1986 the gate house did not actually have a gate. Before 1982, the guardhouse was staffed with armed off-duty police officers in a small enclosure with a clip board, a space heater, and a chemical toilet. Between 1982 and 1986, perhaps because the Security officers no longer carried firearms, the occurrence of trespassers became more prevalent.  Therefore, in 1986 the board voted to stop all traffic approval before being permitted to continue into Starwood.

As for Starwood’s signature security Gate House today? In a post-9/11 world, we do feel safer for it. After all, protecting paradise is a full-time job.

Water became perhaps the greatest concern for Starwood over the years starting in the mid-70’s and was discussed at nearly every meeting for various reasons.  As more homes were built, additional water storage became an issue, as well as water storage for fire protection.   Leaky water mains and service lines became concerns as the galvanized water pipes used in those times began to age and deteriorate. More homes equaled greater demand, and transmission capacity was an issue.

These concerns eventually found temporary resolution with the formation of a Water District in 1982. Following a decade of worry and temporary short-term solutions, and after rejecting the possibility of connecting to the City due to expense, the formation of the Starwood Water District allowed the community to finance, with a $2,000,000 bond, the replacement of the deteriorating water storage tanks and distribution system.  Properly engineer-designed ductile iron pipes, adequately sized pumping facilities with state-of-the-art control equipment, large capacity water storage tanks, and dry barrel fire hydrants were constructed in Starwood.  This was a great leap forward for Starwood in terms of investment in infrastructure and preparation for future investment and growth in the development of the subdivision.

In 1978 as preparation for these investments, the Starwood Board of Trustees hired a water system operator to manage Starwood and constructed a home on Stewart Drive for him and his family.

During the Y2K scare, Starwood made emergency preparedness investments that included new emergency generators for the water pumping stations.  In 2001 the Starwood Water District was transformed by a vote of the citizens into the Starwood Metropolitan District, and most of all of the services previously managed by the Homeowners Association were incorporated into the Metro District and financed with property taxes, instead of Homeowners Association assessments.

As property values increased, and awareness of rural wildfire potential heightened, Starwood residents became concerned about the possible impact of a wildfire and the District’s ability to provide water. Therefore, a project was undertaken to fireproof all of Starwood’s pumping stations against their destruction by fire.  The pumping stations were replaced by fireproof structures with a two-hour fire resistance rating.  As technology has improved, many water operating system improvements have been implemented that have made it possible for the District to operate and deliver water service to all Homeowners in a cost effective manner, without additional employees or staffing adjustments.

In the late 1960s, several additions were platted, roads engineered and homes built. The need for architectural guidelines became necessary, and following many discussions by neighbors, in 1970 the first procedures for architectural approval were adopted.

1986 saw the implementation of architectural approval fees due to the time and expense incurred by Ellie Brickham, who had acted as a volunteer Architectural Advisor for Starwood since the beginning. When Ellie left the Board, it was decided that if she continued to review plans and advise the Architectural Committee, fees should be collected to compensate her for her time.

Starwood has employed a professional Architectural Advisor since that time. Mark Noel is the current Architectural Advisor, and has held this position since 2008.

The Starwood Homeowners Association Architectural review process may have had a reputation for perhaps being strict in enforcing its covenants and architectural procedures over the years. Buyers paying high prices for big homes typically don’t like being told what they can and cannot do with those homes. The HOA has improved its methods of communicating architectural and other guidelines to prospective homeowners (the covenants and architectural procedures can be viewed online at this website www.starwood.org).  Respect for building envelopes, for neighbors’ views, impacts from lighting, windows or reflections, and for maintaining Starwood’s natural setting are chief areas of focus.

One question often asked is just how far does the real estate dollar go in Starwood these days?  According to one longtime local broker, it goes quite a way – comparatively speaking, of course, believing that the subdivision is even currently undervalued since “the dollar buys a lot up there these days”.  As newer, state-of-the-art homes and subdivisions have come on the market in the Roaring Fork Valley in recent years, with big promotional splashes, the spotlight has been pulled from Starwood.  Realtors seem to feel that “Starwood still has huge cachet. That hasn’t changed over the years – it’s just that there is more competition now” in the real estate market.

Trivia real estate question: Which Aspen neighborhood inspired the name of both a modestly successful country-rock band and a song by the late pop-folk icon John Denver? If you guessed “Starwood”, you’re correct. In the mid-1970’s, when Denver, stuck in “grey” L.A., yearned for his “sweet Rocky Mountain paradise”, Starwood was the ultimate glamour address, and still retains that same cache.

MAIN OFFICE


phone: 970-925-8939fax: 970-925-5870email: heather@starwood.org

MANAGER


phone: 970-379-9878email: mark@starwood.org

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


phone: 970-963-9197email: meg@starwood.org

GUARD GATE


phone: 970-925-2232fax: 970-925-9057email: security@starwood.org

Starwood Homeowners Association and Starwood Metropolitan District

121 Stewart Drive
Aspen, Colorado 81611

Contact Us

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

HOA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Andrew Simcock – Chairman
Bobbi Cunningham – Vice-Chair
Shannon Sweeney – Treasurer
Pamela Levy

Wendell Willkie
Isabelle Freidheim
Randy Schenkman

METRO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kurt Hollinger – President
Ron Garfield
Rocky Tschappat
Jill Wagner
Nancy Magoon