ACRA supports Lift 1A master plan
November 28, 2007
ASPEN ” The local business community officially has signed on to help facilitate a grand plan for the base of Aspen Mountain’s west side.
The Aspen Chamber Resort Association board of directors on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting a master plan effort for the base of Lift 1A and agreed to participate in bringing together the various landowners who have a stake in the future of the area.
But the one condition in the resolution is that the property owners all be willing to participate in the process. And that’s what the city wants as well, said Mayor Mick Ireland, who last month approached ACRA for its support and participation.
Ireland is pushing for a master plan that would map out what the base of Aspen Mountain’s west side would look like when new development happens there.
He added that the ACRA board can be influential in helping determine how much retail, commercial and lodging should go in one of the last undeveloped areas in town.
“That question isn’t answered in my mind, and I want to hear from the experts and you are the experts,” Ireland told the ACRA board on Tuesday.
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And because there is a pending development application by Jim Chaffin, Jim Light and David Wilhelm, Ireland can’t discuss the future of the property with Bob Daniel, who is representing the developers.
Just exactly what ACRA’s role will be in getting all property owners together remains to be seen, but it will assist city government as much as it can.
While the major players are the Aspen Skiing Co., the Chaffin and Light team and the development company Centurion Partners, there are many other private landowners at the lodges in the area, which ACRA can help bring into the conversations, said Stan Clauson, chairman of the ACRA board.
David Perry, Skico’s senior vice president, said property owners currently are discussing the requirements they would need in agreeing to a master plan process.
“What values and considerations they have need to be included, and there are discussions going on around that,” he said.
Daniel said his development team is still considering its options.
Chaffin, Light and Wilhelm’s proposed Lift One Lodge is due to be reviewed by the City Council early next year. That development includes a 114,00-square-foot lodge with 32 suites containing a total of 97 separate rental rooms. The lodge would be where the Holland House currently sits, as well as three parcels the Skico owns around the base of Lift 1A.
Ireland and some of his colleagues on the City Council realized during the review process of the Lodge at Aspen Mountain ” a proposed hotel with fractional-ownership condos across South Aspen Street from the proposed Lift One Lodge ” that a master plan would better serve the entire base area. The council shot down the proposal by the landowner, Centurion Partners, in September.
ACRA endorsed the project, citing a serious need for more hotel rooms in the resort. Some ACRA members felt slighted when the council rejected the hotel.
“If we go back to our reaction to the Lodge at Aspen Mountain, we felt council didn’t listen to us and this is a direct opportunity to be listened to,” Clauson said, a land-use planner and consultant. “It’s exactly what we were asking for when we issued that complaint.”
ACRA board member Rick Jones cast the lone vote against the organization being involved in a master plan.
“To me this seems to me to be outside the scope of our skill sets,” he said. “When we start to get into land-use planning, it’s beyond our capabilities.”
John Sarpa, a principal of Centurion, said he and his partners are still weighing their options on whether they want to participate in the master planning process. Centurion can either build 17 townhomes that it already has approval for, or propose a new hotel as part of a new master plan.
Skico representatives have said they are open to the idea. But it’s really up to Daniel and Sarpa to decide if they want to participate.
It’s more complicated for the Chaffin, Light and Wilhelm team since they have poured tens of millions of dollars into land investments and planning. Their project has won the approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission.
The danger of not doing a master plan is not knowing what the outcome would be for Lift One Lodge ” if the council would approve it as proposed.
Carolyn Sackariason’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.