ChartHouse Lodge developers sent back to the drawing board
Developers of a proposed timeshare lodge at the site of the former Chart House restaurant were sent back to the drawing board Monday with orders from the Aspen City Council to scale back the project.Council members and neighbors in the audience roundly panned the ChartHouse Lodge as too big for the site at the corner of Durant Avenue and Monarch Street, where the restaurant of the same name closed last year.Developers urged the council to continue a public hearing on the conceptual plan, rather than vote to reject it, and give them time to rework the proposal. The council complied, voting unanimously to continue the hearing on July 26.”I really cannot support this project. I find that there are a lot of fatal flaws in it,” said Councilwoman Rachel Richards.”It’s too much, it’s too high, it’s too close,” agreed Mayor Helen Klanderud.The 14-unit lodge plan called for five stories above Durant Avenue, including a partial fifth-floor restaurant topping out at 62 feet, 3 inches. Three below-grade levels would include 25 underground parking spaces served by an auto elevator. Four two-bedroom affordable housing units were also proposed – double what is required – but two of them would be built into the ground in the rear of the building, requiring a window well for natural light.Neighbors voiced complaints about the height, the potential noise from the rooftop restaurant and the proximity of the building to the South Point condominiums to the west. The original plans called for the lodge to extend to the 5-foot setback from the property line, putting 10 feet between the lodge and the South Point building. The South Point balconies, however, inexplicably extend four feet into its setback in violation of zoning.To put some more space between the two structures, developers offered to set the lodge back 10 feet from the property line, which would eliminate two, and maybe four, units from the lodge.That distance wasn’t enough for some South Point condo owners.”The bottom line, this building is just way too close to South Point,” said attorney Peter Thomas, representing the condo owners. The developers are looking to put a big building on a small lot and make a big profit, he charged.”They’re asking for more than they ever thought they’d get … that’s how the game is played,” said Adam Goldsmith, who owns a unit in the Aztec condominiums to the south and resides elsewhere in town. “Please send them back to the drawing board to put something reasonable there.””This site makes more sense for a private residence,” said Mark Freirich, owner of two Aztec condos.Council members didn’t go that far, though.”We would like a project of this type, but not of this size, mass,” said Councilman Torre.Property owners Jim De Francia and Skip Behrhorst are behind the lodge proposal. “We are very much looking for the guidance you’re providing,” De Francia said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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