Last chance for Lift One
December 5, 2008
No matter how you look at it, Monday, Dec. 8, will be an important day for Aspen.
On that day, the City Council plans to vote on a major land-use proposal at the base of Aspen Mountain. Win or lose, the decision on the so-called Lift One Master Plan will have far-reaching effects.
If the council gives the green light, then some 300,000 square feet of commercial and residential space, including two major lodging properties, will emerge in coming years on South Aspen Street, below Lift 1A.
If the council rejects the plan, then all bets are off. The individual property owners will go back to their individual drawing boards and decide on something else to do with their valuable real estate.
Those who wish to weigh in on the Lift One proposal, one way or the other, had better show up at City Council chambers on Monday. Anticipating a long discussion with public input, city officials will start the meeting at 2 p.m. They expect to decide on the application that night.
This will be a momentous decision. South Aspen Street was where Aspen skiing was born, and the remnants of old Lift One remain there. In recent years, some longtime lodge owners in the neighborhood decided to move on, and several key properties changed hands. Over time, the area has become one of Aspen’s most sleepy and admittedly decrepit corners. It needs a facelift, especially now that several buildings have been razed, but it’s also somewhat sacred ground.
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When the Lodge at Aspen Mountain development on Aspen Street’s west side was shot down last year, city officials suggested a master planning process as a way to get all the neighborhood’s players at one table, and to try to balance the competing priorities. The proposal now before the City Council is the result of that process, which included 27 task force members with a wide array of opinions and connections to the neighborhood. It represents a lot of square footage, a lot of negotiation and a
lot of hard work.
As participant Georgia Hanson stated in a letter to the editor yesterday, “We tried hard to weigh the diverse set of goals and demands put on us. We must have done a great job if no one is entirely happy.”
Monday’s meeting is expected to be the end of a long, twisting road for this master plan, which Hanson called “a glorious tribute to cooperative solution building.” But the council’s decision won’t be the end of the neighborhood; rather, it will be the beginning of a new chapter.
If you want a say in the future of South Aspen Street, then Monday may be your final opportunity. Get informed and attend the meeting.