Aspen City Council supports streamlined approval process
The Aspen Times
The Aspen City Council is moving forward with code amendments that would streamline land-use approval.
The amendments would allow for applicants to lock in major details — such as mass, scale and land use of a building — earlier in the process. Right now, those details are not ironed out until final review, creating a lengthy wait for applicants to find out if the council and the community support their projects.
The council will vote formally on the code amendment during an Oct. 14 public hearing.
Council members Adam Frisch and Dwayne Romero gave their full support.
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“I think it’s just another way of operational excellence and efficiency for City Hall,” Frisch said at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Mayor Steve Skadron, however, said he’s not as comfortable, raising a question of whether the streamlined process would affect the council’s degree of control over approval.
Community Development Director Chris Bendon responded that it “would not change the nature” of the process, only the timing. With the amendment, the more controversial issues of a project would be moved up to the conceptual review stage rather than final review. The only details left for final review would be minor ones, such as utilities and selection of building materials.
Jessica Garrow, long-range planner for the city, said the council will now see more public comment at the conceptual stage and less at the final stage — further front-loading the discussion.
Council member Art Daily said the amendment has been a “long time coming” and that he likes the purpose behind it.
The code amendments relate to the “Planned Unit Development” and “Specially Planned Area” chapters of the land-use code.
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