Aspen tables Given rezoning; considers Cortina, sign code |

Aspen tables Given rezoning; considers Cortina, sign code

Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesThe former Cortina Lodge on Main Street in Aspen, now used as housing, is undergoing significant renovation.

ASPEN – The Aspen City Council tabled a proposed ordinance Monday night that would have rezoned the property on which the Given Institute sits to allow only academic buildings.

City Manager Steve Barwick asked to continue the discussion to Nov. 8. He said there was not enough information about negotiations between the city and the property’s owner, the University of Colorado’s medical school, available by Monday’s meeting. He said the city would have the pertinent information within “a few days.”

The City Council introduced the rezoning ordinance at a meeting last month. It was designed as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the university, which announced in May that it was selling the property.

The potential buyer wanted to demolish the iconic building, which was used for nearly four decades as a medical conference center. The ordinance would essentially devalue the property by not allowing the owner to build a single-family home on the lot.

The City Council on Monday approved the first reading of a proposal to designate the former Cortina Lodge, which the owners of the Hotel Jerome now use for affordable housing, as a historic landmark.

The Main Street building is currently being remodeled with a “dormitory” style format, according to the application for historic designation.

The owners of the Jerome applied in 2007 to expand the hotel, and one of the conditions for the expansion was that they apply to designate the Cortina Lodge as a landmark.

The City Council on Monday gave city planner Drew Alexander the go-ahead to move forward with a plan to implement sign code amendments. The amendments pose new restrictions – some more liberal, some not – on several types of signs, including those for political campaigns.

The new code would disallow the placement of signs on public rights of way, like the easement on Highway 82 west of the roundabout where there are currently large signs for political candidates, Alexander said.

Alexander also asked permission to find a new way to enforce the sign codes, which currently happens mainly when someone complains.

“Complaint-based [enforcement] doesn’t work here,” Alexander said.

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