AVH seeking OK to convert Beaumont Inn into housing
Aspen Valley Hospital will seek permission today from the city Planning and Zoning Commission to convert the Beaumont Inn into employee housing.The hospital has put the 31-unit lodge on Aspen’s east side under contract. The deadline for finalizing the purchase of the property been extended to Nov. 17, according to Bull Brunworth, AVH project manager.The lodge has been listed for sale for $5.1 million for more than a year, according to co-owner Jeff Stafford.The hospital has proposed converting the lodge into housing for its employees. A conditional-use approval from the P&Z would allow its use as rental housing, though AVH may seek future approval to condominiumize, or subdivide, the property in order to sell some or all of the units to employees, Brunworth said.Only P&Z approval is necessary for the proposed conditional use of the lodge as rental housing; the matter won’t go to the City Council, said city planner Nick Lelack.City staffers, worried about the effect of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in a Telluride affordable housing case, have recommended several steps to ensure the continued affordability of rental units at the lodge.”Staff is concerned that the rental caps proposed may be unenforceable, as decided by the Telluride case,” noted Lelack in a memo to the P&Z.Among the conditions recommended by staffers is that the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority have the right of first refusal to purchase the property from AVH. That right would expire if and when the units are sold to hospital employees.In addition, AVH has been asked to grant the housing office an interest in the property, allowing the agency to enforce the rental restrictions. The rental rates would also require Housing Board approval.In the Telluride case, the state’s high court struck down government’s ability to control rent prices for privately-owned properties. The ruling does not affect rental units owned by government entities, like the Housing Authority.If the hospital does not subdivide the lodge and sell the units to its employees as deed-restricted affordable housing, there is no guarantee the rental units would remain affordable unless the Housing Authority has some say, according to Lelack.The P&Z meets today at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.
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