Aspen council asked to extend vested rights for project
July 23, 2012
ASPEN – A development group seeking to build 14 townhomes on a piece of South Aspen Street property below Lift 1A plans to ask the Aspen City Council Monday for an extension of its vested rights for a different project for the site that was approved in 2003.
ASV Aspen Street Owners LLC recently filed an application to build 14 townhouses and 10 affordable-housing units on the 2.4-acre site. Another eight affordable-housing units would be constructed in the Aspen Business Center area.
The 2003 approval, which allows for 14 townhouses and 17 affordable-housing units on the South Aspen Street property with no plans for development in the business center, will expire March 1.
The developer has told the city’s Community Development Department that it wants an extension of the vested rights for the previously approved project while it explores the City Council’s desire for a new lodge on the site. The department is suggesting a “rolling two-year extension based on pursuit of a lodging project,” according to a staff memorandum.
Jennifer Phelan, deputy planning director, said in a memo that in addition to the vested-rights extension, the developer is willing to consider a lodge development at the site over the next few months but will need to “suspend” its amended townhome application during the review process of the lodge.
The developer wants the ability “to revive the application if a lodging project is not approved or if the lodging application is withdrawn by the applicant,” Phelan wrote.
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The idea of a lodge at the location has been in the works for several years. At one time, it was part of the Lodge at Aspen Mountain debate.
At the council’s July 9 regular meeting, a developer’s representative agreed a lodge is best in theory but cautioned the council about challenges ahead – chiefly, designing a lodge that meets the city’s requirements in mass and scale but at a price the developer can afford.
“All you have to do is stand at the bottom of the hill, and it’s clear this site should be a lodge,” said David Parker, of ASV Aspen Street Owners LLC. “We bought this site with the intention of building a lodge, and we spent a year trying to do that.”
Parker said his company is considering as many as 80 hotel rooms and a structure that looks much like one that came out of a failed community co-op process for the property.
Monday’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the basement of Aspen City Hall at 130 S. Galena St.