Aspen to protect more historic properties |

Aspen to protect more historic properties

Janet Urquhart

Fifty-three additional commercial and private properties around Aspen could soon come under the say-so of the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission.

The HPC will hold meetings tonight and Wednesday on the proposed inclusion of properties on the city’s inventory of historic sites and structures. The designation is likely to raise a protest from some property owners, as it gives the HPC or city staff review power over virtually all changes to the exterior of their property.

“Of course, I’m sure that concerns some people,” said Amy Guthrie, the city’s historic preservation officer. “For some decisions on their property, someone else has a say.”

An owner’s consent is not necessary to include a property on the historic inventory.

To qualify for inclusion on the list, a structure must be either at least 50 years old or be considered an outstanding example of more modern architecture. A building’s historical significance and community influence are also considered.

For the proposed additions to the list, Community Development Department staffers have spent the summer researching the history of various buildings around town.

“This has been a grueling project,” Guthrie said.

About 20 percent of the 53 buildings proposed for inclusion are from Aspen’s Victorian era, she said. The rest are post-World War II buildings that represent architectural styles that gained favor in

Aspen in the 1950s and ’60s, for the most part.

Included, for example, are several Pan Abode log-kit homes. The modest homes, common in Aspen starting in 1952, were used to house ski area workers and for affordable vacation homes, notes an HPC report.

Nine small ski lodges have been proposed for historical designation, including the L’Auberge, Innsbruck Inn, Deep Powder Lodge, Mountain Chalet, Boomerang Lodge, St. Moritz, The Cortina and the Christmas Inn.

In some cases, buildings have been recommended as examples of work by noted local architects, like Fritz Benedict and Herbert Bayer.

The city established its historic inventory and legislation to protect structures in 1980 in the face of numerous demolitions of historic buildings.

To keep the proposed new additions to the inventory from being razed before the expanded list’s adoption, the City Council adopted an emergency ordinance in June that places a temporary stay on demolition permits for newly identified properties.

There are already 259 properties on the city’s historic inventory, which is updated periodically, according to Guthrie.

Of the 259 listed properties, 149 have been designated as historic landmarks – a recognition typically pursued by the property owner. The other 110 properties will be reviewed to make sure their historical integrity hasn’t somehow been compromised.

The HPC will meet today at 5 p.m. at City Hall to begin its review of the inventory of historic properties. The commission will start with the 53 additional properties recommended for inclusion and then move on Wednesday to a review of already-listed properties.

The HPC will make its recommendation to the City Council. The Planning and Zoning Commission will review the list on Sept. 19 and make a recommendation, as well. The expanded inventory is scheduled for second reading before the council on Oct. 10.

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