A little more off the top, please | AspenTimes.com

A little more off the top, please

Developers of the proposed ChartHouse Lodge are going to have to scale back the project even further to win approval from the Aspen City Council.”It’s a fantastic building,” said Mayor Helen Klanderud at last night’s council meeting. “But from what I’m hearing, unless the height comes down more, you’re not going to get conceptual approval.”Property owners Jim De Francia and Skip Behrhorst are behind plans for a timeshare lodge at the site of the former Chart House restaurant at the corner of Durant Avenue and Monarch Street.Their original proposal called for 14 three-bedroom lodge units, four two-bedroom affordable housing units and a rooftop restaurant topping out at 62 feet, 3 inches, as measured from the midpoint of the roof.In response to complaints about the size of their original project from the lodge’s neighbors, many of whom continued to voice concerns at last night’s meeting, De Francia and Behrhorst scaled down the development.Among other changes, the height of the building was cut back to 46 feet, 6 inches and the west-side setback from the property line has been increased from 5 feet to 15 feet. The new plan eliminates the rooftop restaurant; instead, a ground-floor bar/lounge will be a full-service cafe with a subgrade kitchen. It also cuts the number of lodge units to 12 and there will be only two affordable housing units. Although Aspen’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted earlier this month to recommend approval of the revised plan, council members balked.”I still can’t go there,” said council member Terry Paulson, referring to the project’s proposed height, which is more than 16 feet above current zoning allowances. (The council has discussed raising height limits, however, bringing the standard to 42 feet.)Councilwoman Rachel Richards agreed, suggesting the overall bulk of the building be trimmed as well. Klanderud, noting that the top floor seemed like an “add on,” suggested scaling the two-apartment fourth floor to just one apartment to create less impact on neighbors and the skyline.De Francia and Behrhorst said they were confident they could address the council’s concerns. They will bring revised plans before the city council on Aug. 23. Jeanne McGovern’s e-mail address is jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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