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July 16, 2014
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City Council upholds approval of Hotel Aspen

In a 4-0 vote, the Aspen City Council upheld the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision to approve final design for redevelopment of Hotel Aspen during Monday’s regular meeting.

As approved, the redeveloped hotel, located at 110 W. Main St., would expand from 45 rooms to 54 and would include three free-market residential units and three affordable-housing units.

Neighbor Julianne Steele, of 121 W. Bleeker St., represented by local attorney Bert Myrin, claimed that the commission, during a May 14 hearing, failed to provide due process and exceeded discretion by not reviewing concerns — raised by Councilman Art Daily and members of the public — regarding glazing and distinct designs for each of the three free-market homes.

The council — minus council member Ann Mullins, who recused herself — unanimously agreed with City Attorney Jim True, who maintained that the commission acted appropriately. In a memorandum to the council, True and staff members contended that the commission considered Daily’s comments, evaluated the project, took evidence, discussed the project and made a decision.

Stan Clauson, representing hotel owners Michael and Aaron Brown, said clear evidence was provided that showed glazing was reduced. Concerning Daily’s desire for distinct designs between the three free-market units, Clauson said that after a full discussion, staff indicated that there was no value in having the three buildings “radically different in appearance.” He added that there is minor differentiation between designs.

“So in fact, there was no denial of due process. Everyone got to speak and have their say,” Clauson said. “And there was no abuse of discretion because there was a consideration of these two issues specifically.”

Daily said that through extensive discourse, the hotel owners allowed concessions to reach council approval, which resulted in lower heights for the three free-market units.

“I appreciated the concession at the time, and still do,” Daily said, adding that the appearance differentiation was more of a preference on his part, something he asked the applicant to consider. “That was not a condition of approval. It was not considered by any other council members. So to say it was a condition of approval is a bit out of context.”

In an email, Myrin said Monday’s decision was “less important than a message getting through to the HPC and P&Z to consider public comment against the code after closing public comment rather than a board opening and closing public comment and carrying on in a bubble not referencing public comment at all, as if public comment never existed.”

herk@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 16, 2014 12:00AM Published Jul 16, 2014 06:55AM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.