Public to weigh in on proposed Hotel Aspen overhaul
January 13, 2014
The Aspen City Council is holding a public hearing Monday on the proposed expansion of Hotel Aspen.
When the matter was last visited in December, council members voiced concern about the proposal's 71 percent increase in cumulative floor space and the effect it might have on the surrounding Bleeker Street neighborhood. Councilmen Adam Frisch, Dwayne Romero and Art Daily all said they fundamentally support the proposal, which aims to increase affordability at the lodge, but the general concern was that two free-market duplexes proposed at the site might be too big.
In a memorandum to the council, city planners recommended that the applicant reduce the size of the duplexes. If approved, cumulative floor space of the entire property would increase from 21,344 square feet to 36,500 square feet.
The duplexes, sized at 3,625 and 3,275 square feet, exceed the 2,000-square-foot cap of allowable space. While the proposal would increase the number of lodging units from 45 to 54, it would reduce the average unit size from 370 to 300 square feet, increasing the affordability of the lodge.
"The requested floor area increases, net liveable increase and setback reductions may be appropriate," the memo states. "However only with the condition that the overall architecture and massing of the free market multi-family housing is compatible with the neighborhood and adjacent landmarks. There is an appropriate balance that needs to be met between incentivizing lodge redevelopment and preserving the residential mass and scale of the Bleeker Street neighborhood."
In December, Frisch said it would be a shame "if we can't see this Main Street, mid-priced lodge be redeveloped. And I hope we work out some kind of free-market component that allows it to be economically feasible, as well as community appropriate."
Also at issue is the $91,845 in fee reductions requested by the applicant. In December, Mayor Steve Skadron said he wasn't agreeable to the request but was willing to hear the argument at today's public hearing. The memo states that both the Parks and Transportation departments are against the fee waivers, citing impacts that the redevelopment would have on their respective operations and expenses.