Lawyer booted from master plan effort for Aspen’s Lift One neighborhood
April 9, 2008
ASPEN ” A lawyer representing second homeowners has been booted off a task force that will be crucial in shaping what arguably is one of the most important pieces of undeveloped land at the base of Aspen Mountain.
The majority of the Aspen City Council agreed Tuesday that it wasn’t appropriate for local attorney Bob Hoover to represent the Mountain Queen Homeowners’ Association on the Lift One task force.
The task force is part of what’s known as the COWOP process (Convenience and Welfare of the Public) and will be the driving force in making the area a “second portal” to Aspen’s flagship mountain.
The 22-member task force was designed to only include full-time residents, which meant a handful of city officials, area landowners, neighbors and affected parties. But when the council appointed the members last week, its members didn’t realize that Hoover was a paid representative.
“I was under the impression that if you were listed as a neighbor you are a neighbor,” said City Councilman Jack Johnson. “I think we should have people who live there.”
When it came to the council’s attention, it was decided that if property owners at Mountain Queen want a say in the process, they will have to attend the weekly meetings like everyone else.
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Hoover told the council that because Mountain Queen is made up primarily of second-home owners, he was hired to represent them.
“They wanted to have a voice in the process and they wanted to have a vote,” Hoover said.
Mayor Mick Ireland countered that they can have a say in how their neighborhood is developed; all they have to do is come to the weekly meetings.
“This is a citizen process and to the extent they want to be citizens, they are welcome,” Ireland said.
Hoover said there is one full-time resident who lives at Mountain Queen, located at 800 S. Monarch St., and that person likely will apply to be on the task force to fill the void.
The task force kicks off its first meeting Thursday. The meeting will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mountain Chalet.
When the task force is done meeting in September, its vote on how on the area should be developed will be forwarded to the City Council for final consideration.
Over the years, city officials have looked at the neighborhood in piecemeal fashion, taking it one development application at a time, according to city planners.
The $138,000 master plan cost will be split four ways between area landowners ” Centurion Partners, developers of the Lift One Lodge and the Aspen Skiing Co. ” and the city of Aspen. The area includes vacant land, the site of the now-razed Mine Dump Apartments, and two defunct lodges, the Holland House and Mountain Chalet.
Approval of the master plan puts a freeze on proposed construction in the area ” including the proposed the 114,000-square-foot Lift One Lodge ” without levying any penalties on builders.