New plans for Aspen lodge evolve from citizen meetings | AspenTimes.com

New plans for Aspen lodge evolve from citizen meetings

Andre SalvailThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

Contributed imageA conceptual drawing shows the proposed Lift One Lodge at the base of Aspen Mountain. The red building at the right is the existing lower terminal of Lift 1A.

ASPEN – The drastic reduction of the Lift One Lodge project was born out of a master planning effort involving a neighborhood task force three years ago, the project manager said Tuesday.Though that master plan was never adopted, the developer incorporated many of the ideas that evolved from the process and scaled back the project’s size while keeping intact aspects the citizens liked, Bob Daniel told Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission members during a public hearing on the proposal’s final application.”We sort of threw away the scalpel and got the chainsaw out,” Daniel said. “We ended up with a project that was significantly reduced.”Daniel, who represents Roaring Fork Mountain Lodge-Aspen LLC, laid out plans for the 27-unit project during what was described as an “orientation.” As currently drawn up, the development would include 22 timeshare units, five free-market units, a restaurant and bar, an aprs-ski deck, a dormitory-style building for employee housing and a museum to be operated by the Aspen Historical Society. There also would be a corridor running through the lodge area for the possibility of a surface lift that would take skiers up to Lift 1A. Daniel said the company is committing up to $600,000 for the surface lift, which may or may not ever be built. The corridor does not line up with the current base of Lift 1A. It would be premature to go forward with the plan because no decisions have been made by Aspen Skiing Co. about replacing Lift 1A, Daniel said.”I can’t speak for Skico’s desires for the lift,” he said.The total floor area for the lodge, employee housing and museum buildings was reduced from 123,693 square feet to 84,514 square feet, or 31.6 percent, according to data in the application. The project also was cut down from 27 fractional-ownership units and 107 keys to 22 units and 84 keys, with each share representing one-eighth of a unit. In late 2009, the Aspen City Council gave conceptual approval for the larger floor area and the greater number of units.Because the project was first introduced more than five years ago, the P&Z and City Council are required to rely on land-use codes from 2005 in making their decisions, said Chris Bendon, the city’s director of community development. P&Z meetings on the project may run weekly until the end of this month, with the City Council possibly weighing in on the issue in July or August.A few people in the audience spoke following Daniel’s presentation, offering generally positive comments. One resident, Mary Janss, said she was “smitten by the new project” and praised the developer for a lodge design change that is “more modern and light.” The previous design relied on stone and timber and was viewed by many as aesthetically heavy.But P&Z members had a few preliminary questions. Bendon and Daniel said there will be an additional two, perhaps three, P&Z meetings on the project, and public hearings at each one, where more details will be offered and more questions answered.Commissioner Bert Myrin raised concerns about the logic of adhering to 2005 land-use codes. “This looks like a brand new project to me,” he said. “My question is why aren’t we relying on the current code?”Commissioner LJ Erspamer wondered whether the size of the lodge building could be further reduced, given the concern from residents on the east side of the property about the building’s height. Residents of the Silver Shadow Condominiums, who have hired a local attorney, have expressed worry over an extra 12 feet – not approved during conceptual review – that would affect their views and the amount of sunlight their property receives.No one representing Silver Shadow spoke out at Tuesday’s meeting, which was continued to June 14. During his earlier remarks, Daniel spoke of a plan that revitalizes the project area, which lies just south of Lift 1A, at the foot of Aspen Mountain on South Aspen Street between Dean and Hill streets. The developer wants to utilize five parcels of land, two that are city-owned and three that are privately owned. He spoke of how the design incorporates environmentally friendly building practices, including a “green roof” that absorbs stormwater as well as cooling off the building. The development will bring more activity to the neighborhood, he said, pointing out that there currently is no “gathering place” near Lift 1A and that only 3 percent of Aspen Mountain skiers use the lift.In addition, improvements to nearby Willoughby Park also are planned, Daniel said.The project is expected to generate about 38 jobs. Sixteen employees will be housed in the converted Skiers Chalet Steakhouse, one of two historic buildings on the site that will be rehabilitated as part of the development plan. The remaining employees will be provided housing within Aspen’s Urban Growth Boundary.asalvail@aspentimes.com

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