Aspen reaches compromise with building owners
ASPEN ” The Aspen City Council gave the owners of Domino’s Pizza and Johnny McGuire’s Deli some relief Monday which could further the owner’s plans to develop 14 condos on top of their building on East Cooper Avenue.
But Mark Campisi, owner of the local Domino’s franchise, and John Hoffman and Terry McGuire, owners of the deli, will have to get formal land-use approval in the future if they plan to redevelop the property.
It was a compromise floated by land planner Mitch Haas, who represents Campisi, McGuire and Hoffman. Earlier this year, the restaurant owners lobbied the City Council to release a deed restriction on the property that is part of an ordinance passed in 1983.
Council members feared that if they granted the request it would effectively upzone a deed-restricted property and allow for more development. By lifting the restriction, council members said in February, it could open the door for development that could potentially be detrimental to the area, especially if the proposed condos are high-priced luxury properties.
The compromise mandates that the three business owners must go through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) process so issues like parking and building size are addressed before any substantial changes are made to the lot.
The ordinance passed in 1983 limited the amount of development that can occur on the property at the corner of Cooper Avenue and Original Street. The ordinance was part of a condition put into place when the zoning of the building was changed from office to commercial lodging, which currently allows for nearly 1 1/2 times what the ordinance calls for.
The deed restriction, however, was never recorded by the landowners, Simon and Norma Kelly. That failure was recently discovered as the business owners began hashing out their plans with city officials.
In 2000, the business owners bought the Buckhorn Arms building and entered into a 99-year lease with the landowners so they would be able to control their destiny as small-business owners.
In an effort to relieve themselves of the debt they incurred when they bought the building ” which was sold to them for $450,000 ” the three partners want to redevelop the property into a 14-room lodge with a new ground-floor space for their existing businesses, plus an additional one.
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After nine months of being shuttered due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Wheeler Opera House will reopen for local acts. A touchless reservation system will be open to 53 people for in-person at the venue. Online live streaming also will be available.