Aspen property owners making the list – and checking it twice
ASPEN Worried their homes can’t be altered or demolished in the future, some Aspen residents have been given the coveted “list” of properties city officials think might be historic.After hearing rumors that City Hall has a list of 65 properties that might have homes of historic value and need further study, residents for weeks have been asking for it to be released publicly.But city staff refused, saying the list is a working document and releasing it would be premature. They told property owners the list wasn’t a public document, although it was distributed to City Council members earlier this month.”Our position has been that we’ve done preliminary research and it’s a windshield survey,” said Amy Guthrie, City Hall’s historic preservation officer. “The concern from people is that a decision has already been made but it hasn’t.”Meanwhile, residents who went directly to Mayor Mick Ireland were able to obtain the list from him. Those who weren’t able to receive the document showed up en masse last week during a City Council meeting, demanding that the list be made public. The City Council apparently wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding the document and questioned city staff concerning its release. Guthrie and the city’s community development director, Chris Bendon, said they were waiting for direction from the council on the matter.The secrecy surrounding the list comes in the wake of a recently passed law that requires buildings more than 30 years old to be reviewed for historical significance. The ordinance has many homeowners fearful of local government.The City Council passed the ordinance earlier this month as an emergency and with no public notice. Officials justified the move by saying development pressures in Aspen show that many historic structures from the post-World War II era are being demolished at a rapid rate.”It’s interesting to me that by word of mouth, 10 houses on my block are on that list,” said Jack Wilke, who lives at 626 W. Francis St. “We didn’t ask for this and now the burden is on us [to prove if a property is historic] … I think it is totally unfair.” The ordinance mandates that property owners must submit to a review of whether their home or commercial building is historically significant if they plan to apply for a building or demolition permit.
Marilyn Marks, who lives in the West End, has been requesting the list of potentially historic properties for weeks.”The city’s incomplete list of 65 properties which they wish to study further for landmark designation has been handled in an inappropriate way, with access denied to some citizens and access given to others,” she wrote in an e-mail message to her neighbors and sent to The Aspen Times. “This is valuable information, even if it is preliminary, disclosed by city officials on a selective basis.”In an e-mail message Marks sent to Ireland in an attempt to obtain the list, she told him that residents don’t have a lot of faith in the public process or in local government.”Mick, a distressing number of people are afraid to ask you or any city employee about their specific property. They fear that in ‘raising their head’ they will get further scrutiny or even retribution if they object, or be added to the list, if they are not now on it,” Marks wrote. “The notion of needing to stay under the radar screen is pretty widespread. You may feel that their nervousness is unfounded, but I think as you become more aware of the facts and feelings, you will understand the reason for their concern …”The citizens certainly deserve to be able to see collectively the types of structures the city staff has considered important. We should not have to get this information piecemeal, on a selective basis. Also, we should not have to go to the mayor personally to get this information. I ask you to step back and see the perception that that kind of process creates. It implies that our mayor has become the one powerful source to go to get what should be public information … Therefore, I ask you to treat our citizens in a more fair manner and release the full list in a public fashion. This list was the justification for a very far-reaching ordinance, and should not be hidden from public view, and released only on an exception basis …”Apparently the City Council agreed and copies of the list were distributed to all members of the public at the July 23 meeting. City staff plans to survey all 2,400 parcels and create a database in the coming months that would allow a property owner, or anyone seeking information, to check whether a property has been designated historic or is under consideration for the designation. But in the meantime, city staff is waiting for property owners to apply for the historic designation review if they want to alter the exterior of their buildings.The following is a list of properties that City Hall has identified as potentially significant in Aspen’s history. Property owners have been worried that they might be on the list, but city staff assures them that it is only a preliminary study and is not final.Carolyn Sackariason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
949 W. Smuggler Avenue412 S. Spring Street1280 Ute Avenue501 W. Bleeker Street765 Meadows Rd.333 E. Durant Avenue (Mountain Chalet)601 S. Garmisch Street301 Lake (Lundy)211 W. Hopkins Avenue602 E. Hyman Avenue850 Roaring Fork Road300 W. Hyman Avenue (Kitzbuhl Lodge)
219 S. Third St. (St. Moritz)100 E. Hyman (Chalet Lisl)129 E. Hopkins928 W. Hallam970 Cemetery119 Red Mountain Rd745 Meadows114 E. Bleeker118 E. Bleeker621 W. Francis631 S. Galena834 W. Main434 Pearl
Support Local Journalism
602 E. Hyman624 W. Francis626 W. Francis608 W. Hopkins1005 Waters1001 E. Cooper555 E. Durant219 S. Third407 N. Third536 W. North700 Ute1000 N. Third Paepcke Memorial Bldg1000 N. Third Koch Seminar Bldg.
1000 N. Third Boettcher Bldg.1000 N. Third Herbert Bayer sculpture1000 N. Third Bucky Fuller dome69 Shady Lane411 Pearl615 N. Third403 Park404 Park210 W. Francis1355 Sage Ct.1208 Snowbunny1210 Snowbunny809 S. Aspen
95 Westview1102 Waters Ave.630 E. Hyman300 Spring St.54 Shady Lane610 S. West End1411 Crystal Lake Road1422-1438 Crystal Lake720 E. Hyman1280 Ute Ave.327 W. HallamNOTE: This research should be considered very preliminary; completed by city staff initiated as part of their duties in order to gauge the number of potential historic resources that could be lost through redevelopment. This research has no legal significance for any particular property, whether the property is included on the list or not.
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User