Aspen City Council approves Lundy home addition |

Aspen City Council approves Lundy home addition

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

The Aspen City Council unanimously approved a proposal to renovate and expand a West End home built by a renowned architect, with the applicant receiving development incentives in exchange for preserving the structure.

Sitting on a 9,231-square-foot lot at 301 Lake Ave., the single-family home was designed and built by Victor Lundy in 1972. The applicant, 301 Lake Ave. LLC — controlled by David Willens, an investor from Florida, and his associate Bill Baringer — agreed to participate voluntarily in the city’s Aspen Modern program, which was created to protect historically significant structures built in the 20th century.

Neighbor Martin Block has argued vehemently against the proposal throughout the process, saying it will negatively impact his quality of life by reducing sunlight and infringing on his home.

The height of the existing structure is about 22 feet, and the approved addition ranges from 12 feet, 3 inches to 15 feet, 9 inches, which is below the 25-foot height limit. While allowable site coverage is 3,600 square feet, the applicant was approved to build 4,459 square feet.

In the end, the council majority agreed that what was presented was better than the alternative, as the applicant has a right to tear down the structure and replace it with a duplex potentially taller than 25 feet.

The applicant requested 10-year vested rights on the latest approval but received five years, which is beyond the standard three years. It also was granted the landing of one transferable development right, though it requested two.

During the public-comment portion, Block argued that Lundy would not have wanted the garage approved in the application, which he said affects the integrity of the house. He also told attorney Paul Taddune he would rather see the structure torn down than have the new project built. The applicant also did not deserve the transferable development rights or the vested-right extension, Block said, claiming the council was “giving away the keys to the kingdom.”

“You will have to answer to the electorate for this in the next election — the West End vote,” he said. “The council should be listening to the voters and not be taken in by a very, very slick and able presentation.”

Former Mayor Bill Stirling said the Lundy family would be happy that the house is getting landmarked, and he called the application a classic example of give and take, arguing that the applicant has given Block fair response to his concerns.

“I think the process is working. We’ll see what the final result is,” Stirling said.

The council voted 4-0 in support, with Councilman Dwayne Romero absent, though he sent a text message to Mayor Steve Skadron saying he was comfortable with the application as presented by city staff in a memorandum.

“There’s going to be some compromise in this,” Councilwoman Ann Mullins said. “To restore the home as much as we can and to find a development solution that’s sympathetic and retains the character of the home as a historic resource, the character of the site, the character of the neighborhood — that’s what we need to strive for.”

Councilman Art Daily credited the applicant with making numerous adjustments that are “reasonably responsive” to the concerns of neighbors and the council. He said he wished the council could do more but that it has pushed the applicant as far as possible.

Councilman Adam Frisch said he would rather have what is approved than see the structure torn down and replaced with a new one- or two-story building.

“I think people would be writing twice as many letters, wondering, ‘How did you guys muck it up and let the house go and let that 30-foot-high building pop up?’” Frisch said. “I wish it could be a little bit smaller, but that’s not the kind of position we’re in.”

While Skadron said he is sensitive to Block’s comments and called the incentives awarded to the applicant “aggressive,” he supported the application, as well, arguing that it will have less impact than the other option.

“There has been compromise on the part of the applicant here, and while it’s not my favorite application, I will concur with my fellow council members in support,” he said.


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