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The original item was published from 3/30/2022 10:30:33 AM to 5/6/2022 5:05:00 PM.

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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: March 31, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Pitkin County Community Development Director Announces Retirement


March 30, 2022

Pitkin County Community Development Director announces retirement 

Pitkin County, CO-  After 37 years of distinguished service in Pitkin County, Community Development Director, Cindy Houben is announcing her retirement. Houben has been Pitkin County Community Development Director for 27 years and served as a planner for the joint City of Aspen / Pitkin County joint planning department for 10 years prior. Houben’s departure from the planning and building departments will also see a departure of nearly 40 years of community history, knowledge and creativity. 

“Cindy has brought vision, leadership, southern charm, and her passion to Pitkin County Community Development over her distinguished career,” said County Manager, Jon Peacock.  “Throughout her career Cindy has facilitated community planning, created innovative land use and building codes that protect our natural environment and preserved our unique community character.  Cindy will be greatly missed, and I look forward to celebrating her service as she moves to this next chapter in her life.”

Cindy has a passion for creating and sustaining the unique characteristics of Pitkin County. Her creative use of planning tools and inclusive approaches to citizen engagement have led to extensive preservation of natural and working landscapes in Pitkin County, one of Colorado’s most iconic places. Her innovative approaches to growth management, land-use regulation, transfer of development rights, and land acquisition have been coupled with a thoughtful and collaborative approach to citizen engagement. The creation of the Rural and Remote Zone district has set Pitkin County apart in preserving thousands of acres for the backcountry and retaining what makes this community special. Cindy has been a driving force in giving Pitkin County residents a voice for shaping the community they love for future generations. 

Cindy, originally from Alabama, first arrived in the Roaring Fork Valley just out of college and went to work at the Bureau of Land Management office in Glenwood Springs. From there, she worked at Garfield County briefly and moved to Aspen to take a planning job in 1985. She spent 10 years as a planner when the City and County shared a joint planning department before becoming the Pitkin County Community Development Director in 1995. 

“I am grateful for such a fascinating, unconventional community oriented career,” stated Cindy. “It’s been a privilege to have worked alongside such extraordinary and pioneering staff, citizens and elected officials. I was fortunate to have witnessed different stages of history in Pitkin County through the community development and planning processes.”

In 2018, Cindy was recognized for her leadership in the planning field and inducted into the College of Fellows for the American Institute of Certified Planners. At the time, she was the first of two female members from Colorado to be inducted into the program. The fellowship is granted to planners who have accomplished excellence in professional practice, teaching and mentoring, research, public and community service, and leadership.

Reflecting on Cindy’s nearly four decades in Pitkin County, Board Chair Patti Clapper recounts the driving force that will be Cindy’s legacy, “she tells it like it is and when she says “zone it like you mean it,” she means it.”

Cindy will officially retire from her position on July 1, 2022 and stay on board in a limited fashion through 2022 to ensure the continuity of several on-going projects. Pitkin County will begin recruiting for a Community Development Director in April and information will be posted at

Contact: Cindy Houben -


Contact: Kara Silbernagel -


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