Aspen OKs master plan effort for Lift One |

Aspen OKs master plan effort for Lift One

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Aspen City Council approved a master planning process Monday for the Lift One neighborhood.

Over about eight months, a task force of neighbors, landowners and members of the public will help decide the future of the neighborhood at the base of Aspen Mountain along South Aspen Street that many call the “second portal” to the ski area.

The $138,000 cost will be split four ways between area landowners ” Lodge at Aspen Mountain, Lift One Lodge and the Aspen Skiing Co. ” and the city of Aspen.

Over the years, city officials have looked at the neighborhood in piecemeal fashion, taking it one building application at a time, according to city staff.

The task force will use the COWOP process (short for Convenience and Welfare of the Public), to work within city code and come up with guiding principles and priorities for the area.

City officials said the group will start in April and finish by September or October.

Approval of the master plan puts a freeze on proposed construction in the area ” including the proposed Lift One Lodge ” without levying any penalties on builders.

A suggested roster of 22 task force members includes a handful of city officials, area land owners, neighbors and affected parties such as the Aspen Historical Society (which has plans for a museum on the site) as well as officials from Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association as well as a few citizens.

Monday’s debate about the proposed master planning process centered on who will be on that task force, and counselors Jack Johnson and J.E. DeVilbiss argued for more public input.

In the end, the council approved the master planning idea with a proviso to decide on the makeup of the task force in upcoming meetings.

Some council members questioned plans for a financial review slated as part of the master plan, noting commercial-viability studies on the area would be time-consuming and suggesting the plan should focus on the physical outcome at the site.

“I think that our emphasis needs to be on the design and the community benefit,” Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland said.

On hand Monday were a handful of neighbors of the Lift 1A area who congratulated council and the landowners for the decision and asked be part of the task force.

The plan comes months after the council denied Centurion Partners the right to build the Lodge at Aspen Mountain at the base.

Centurion Partners principal John Sarpa was recently granted extension of vested rights to build townhomes on the site, but the master planning process puts any proposed building on hold.

City Council members congratulated Sarpa for bearing the expenses and going back to the drawing board for the eight-month process, which could mean a development at the base that will better suit the community.

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