Boogie’s penthouse project wins Aspen City Council OK
The Aspen Times
Leonard “Boogie” Weinglass received Aspen City Council permission on Monday to build a third-story penthouse above his popular second-floor diner at 434 E. Cooper Ave.
The official vote on his development plans, which also include a bar, was unanimous at 4-0. Prior to the discussion, Councilwoman Ann Mullins recused herself from the proceeding because she served on the Historic Preservation Commission during one of the previous reviews of the project.
Mayor Steve Skadron, who ended up supporting the proposal, expressed misgivings about it during Monday’s meeting because the development application was filed shortly after the council failed last year in its attempt to pass an emergency ordinance that sought to ban third-story residential projects in the commercial core. The 3-2 tally in February 2012, sponsored by former Councilman Torre, lacked the necessary four votes required to pass an emergency ordinance. A councilman at the time, Skadron joined Torre and former Mayor Mick Ireland in supporting the emergency ordinance.
Following that, local developers sensed that the council and Ireland would head down a more typical path to downtown development restrictions — which they later did with success — and flooded City Hall with development requests so that projects would be evaluated under the existing rules that allowed new buildings and refurbished projects up to 42 feet. The Boogie’s plan was one of the requests that came in under the wire before a new 28-foot height limit, with exceptions for lodge projects, was put into effect.
“Quite frankly, I’d like to see this development not happen,” Skadron said. “And I can’t understand for the life of me why Boogie, who has benefited so substantially from this community over the years, and by all appearances … has little need to be in the development business, would be pursuing this other than to stick it to the city to some degree because we were changing the building heights.”
Skadron then asked about the motivation behind the project. Weinglass was not present during the public hearing and council discussion on the issue. He and the project were represented by local land-use planner Sunny Vann.
Vann said he was not part of the initial discussions on the project but was brought in to help “process the application.”
“I cannot speak to what the motivation was,” he said. “I think it’s reasonable to surmise that it was triggered by the pending ordinance in the city, and there was concern as you know among numerous landowners who hadn’t any plans to do anything at that time that something might be precluded. Therefore, there was an attempt made to protect their investment.”
Vann added that in his opinion, the third-story, free-market residential addition to the Boogie’s building, which would be allowed 2,300 square feet of floor area, “is less problematic than perhaps some of the others that have been built or are being contemplated.”
The top height of the project, to accommodate the third story, was scaled back from 42 feet to 38 feet at the request of the Historic Preservation Commission, Vann noted. The additional height also will fit in with the height of nearby structures.
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