ChartHouse Lodge gets failing grade | AspenTimes.com
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ChartHouse Lodge gets failing grade

Janet UrquhartAspen Times Staff Writer

Plans for a new lodge to replace the closed Chart House restaurant received a failing grade last week.The Growth Management Commission, charged with rating projects under four established sets of criteria, narrowly flunked the proposed ChartHouse Lodge on one of them. The lodge cant be built until it makes the grade under the arcane and little-used scoring system, intended to make developments compete for limited growth allotments.The ChartHouse developers will appeal the scoring to the Aspen City Council, according to planning consultant Stan Clauson.The council can amend the scoring or send it back to the commission to rescore the project.The Growth Management Commission, comprising the city and Pitkin County Planning and Zoning commissions, scored the lodge on four considerations: how it revitalizes the permanent community; its provision of transportation alternatives; its promotion of environmentally sustainable development; and how it maintains design quality, historic compatibility and community character.Commission members give a project a grade of zero to five in each category; it must average a score of at least three in each to pass.Commissioners assign the project an initial score, discuss it, and then conduct a second, final round of scoring. Jasmine Tygre, chairwoman of the city P&Z, gave the project a score of zero in both revitalization of the community and in design quality/community character.In the second round of scoring, the lodge received an average score of 2.9 in the latter category one-tenth of a point below a passing grade.Tygre was the only commissioner to give the project a score of less than 2 in the final round of scoring, Clauson noted.That was very unusual and we must say, somewhat irresponsible to give it a score of zero, he said.By any measure, Clauson reasoned, the lodge project would contribute something in all of the categories.I made my finding based on the factors that were more important to me basically the mass and size of the building, Tygre said, explaining her scoring in the design/community character category.She also questioned the projects impact on community revitalization.I really question the belief that additional development is going to make us a better resort, she said. It may be very beneficial for the visitor economy, though Im not even sure about that.The ChartHouse Lodge, which must also go through conceptual and final reviews before the city P&Z and City Council, is a 14-suite, fractional ownership project proposed at the corner of Durant Avenue and Monarch Street.The three-bedroom suites would average about 2,000 square feet. One bedroom of each suite could be locked off and rented as a separate hotel room.Four two-bedroom affordable units for workers are also proposed.The growth management application describes the lodge as a 4.5-story building, plus a rooftop restaurant that incorporates a lot of glass in its construction to take advantage of the views. The buildings height would top out at 62.25 feet on one ridge of the restaurant.The lodges developers are competing for an allotment from a pool of unbuilt lodging units maintained by the city to control growth. Many developments are exempt from growth management for various reasons; the ChartHouse Lodge is currently the only hotel project competing for lodge units.Growth management was designed to score competing projects annually. With a limited number of allotments, only the projects garnering the highest scores would be allowed to proceed, in theory. Rarely, however, is there an actual competition.The city is in the process of revamping growth management so the county P&Z will no longer be involved. The rejected overhaul of the city land-use code known as infill would have done away with growth management competition altogether, though the cap on overall growth was to be maintained at 2 percent annually.Even eliminating the county doesnt quite get to the crux of the matter, Clauson said. Really, this allocation business no longer makes any sense.Janet Urquharts e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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