Aspen City Council lets Boomerang development fly

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Pictured is the last remaining section of the old Boomerang Lodge, which is slated for redevelopment. On Monday, the City Council approved an amendment to a 2006 ordinance adding 5,500 square feet to the project.

A scrivener’s error forced the Boomerang Lodge redevelopment to return to Aspen City Council, which on Monday upheld a 2006 ordinance showing the project to be smaller than it actually will be.

The council, after a near two-hour discussion, voted 3-1 to allow the lodge’s developer to stick with the architectural drawings that reflect 1,224 more square feet in the floor area and 4,542 additional square feet for the balconies, decks and squares. The vote was for what officially was deemed a planned-development amendment.

The increase in space puts the project at roughly 51,000 square feet as opposed to the 44,915 square feet described in the ordinance.

Located at 500 W. Hopkins Ave., the Boomerang project is headed by developer Steve Stunda, who has received two extensions of vested rights to build the lodge because of the Great Recession. His first extension was granted by the City Council in 2009, the second in 2015.

The project calls for 30 lodge units, five free-market residential units, two affordable-housing units, 31 underground parking spaces and 12 surface spaces.

In September, when a building permit was sought for the lodge, the Community Development Department discovered the discrepancy between the ordinance and the architectural drawings, putting the project back before council.

Council members expressed caution about setting a precedent by allowing a project larger than the ordinance showed.

And Steve Goldenberg, a neighbor of the project who tried to derail it through unsuccessful litigation, urged the city to “take the lesser of the two,” meaning hold the developer to the language of the ordinance.

Mayor Steve Skadron, however, said the council based its decision in 2006 on the drawings it scrutinized in public hearings.

“I will support approval of the amendment that reconciles the discrepancies,” he said.

Councilman Bert Myrin cast the dissenting vote.

“The ordinance was pretty clear,” he said.

Jennifer Phelan, the city’s deputy planning director, said the staff is focused more on detecting inconsistencies like the one discovered last fall.

“I can say that today we are much more diligent about catching those things on the front end,” she said.


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