Aspen delays Wienerstube plan
ASPEN ” The developers of the Wienerstube building will make one final attempt to please elected officials in hopes they will be granted approval to redevelop the property into a three-story complex.
The three City Council members reviewing the subdivision application Monday told the project’s planner Stan Clauson he has to come up with something better in order for it win approval.
The council voted on continuing the public review to a future date so Clauson and his development team can come back with a proposal that reduces the building’s height, and guarantees that mid-level retail will be in a portion of the commercial space. The council also asked that the design be reworked so that the complex’s three-story portion is pushed farther back.
Councilmen Steve Skadron and J.E. DeVilbiss recused themselves from the review. Skadron reviewed the proposal when he was a Planning and Zoning Commissioner, and DeVilbiss cited a conflict of interest because he is a longtime customer of the Wienerstube.
The entire parcel, which includes the adjacent parking lot, is 18,000 square feet and is located at the corner of Hyman Avenue and Spring Street. The current building houses the longtime Wienerstube restaurant and Ajax Bike and Sports.
The project, which has been in the review process for nearly two years, was about to be shot down by the council on Dec. 3 so the development team opted for a continuance to address elected leaders’ concerns. New to the offering was reducing the number of parking spaces from 47 off-street spaces to 23 or 24, plus paying an extra $469,294 as a cash-in-lieu payment for affordable housing.
But that wasn’t enough for council members, who generally like the design of the building but agree with neighbors that it’s too tall and doesn’t fit into the character of the neighborhood. Significant community benefits must offset those issues, council members said.
A date has not yet been scheduled for what is expected to be the final vote on the project.
The land-use plan, for which the owners already have approval, calls for redeveloping the property into a 47,000-square-foot complex that would house the Wienerstube restaurant for at least 10 years, the bike shop and four or five smaller affordable commercial spaces that would face the alley.
The 12 affordable housing units and six free-market condos would be on the upper levels along with additional commercial and office space.
Clauson and his clients, including building owners Steve Marcus and John Provine, are seeking approval to subdivide the property because the plan involves creating multifamily units, which requires that the building be separated by different ownership interests.
Neighbors are vehemently opposed to the project, saying it would change the character of the area to something unrecognizable. They used words Monday night to describe it as “gross, unconscionable, a monstrosity, and irresponsible,” to a cite a few comments.
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