Whittled-down council will decide on Hotel Aspen
January 10, 2017
Just three members of the Aspen City Council will decide the fate of redevelopment plans of the Hotel Aspen, after an elected official had to recuse himself from discussions Monday night.
Councilman Bert Myrin dismissed himself from a first reading on the 110 W. Main St. lodge owner's request to amend an application to demolish the entire building.
That's because Myrin previously sat on the Planning and Zoning Commission that approved the project, which Myrin opposed. He joins Councilwoman Ann Mullins, who also had to recuse herself in 2014 because she sat on the Historic Preservation Commission when it reviewed Hotel Aspen's plans.
That puts the deciding body at three members on council charged with Hotel Aspen's latest application, which advanced to a Feb. 27 public hearing after the whittled-down council voted 3-0 in its favor.
Hotel Aspen previously secured City Council's approval in 2014 to raze and replace the current lodge — but not the front portion of the building — increasing the number of guest rooms from 45 to 54.
Its owners are now asking to amend that approval so they can scrap the entire hotel to rebuild the front portion of the building from 28-feet high to 32 feet. They also are seeking a change of the approved plans increasing the height from the new lodge wings by the same dimensions.
The plans need to be altered, said Patrick Rawley of Aspen planning and design firm Stan Clauson Associates, to meet industry standards, have sufficient mechanical space and provide "improved livability" in the guest rooms.
Hotel Aspen also is seeking extension of its vested rights to build the new hotel, which are set to expire July 31, 2017. They are seeking three years to be tacked on to that expiration date to construct a new lodge that also calls for three affordable-housing units and three free-market units.
It was Rawley who asked Myrin to not participate in further discussions as a council member.
"We'd like to point out that he was a member of (the Planning and Zoning Commission) when this matter (came before the commission) and he actually appealed the approval at the time," he said. "We like a reconsideration of his involvement."
Myrin didn't immediately recall his role in the 2013 Planning and Zoning Commission hearings, but later said, "I do remember doing an appeal of some sort."
He then volunteered to dismiss himself without further discussions.
Mayor Steve Skadron, along with Councilmen Art Daily and Adam Frisch, will comprise the deciding body.