ChartHouse Lodge wins conceptual nod from city |

ChartHouse Lodge wins conceptual nod from city

Janet Urquhart

After trimming the proposed ChartHouse Lodge one more time, the Aspen City Council narrowly approved conceptual plans for the project on Monday.Both the council and neighbors of the proposed timeshare lodge were split on whether the latest iteration of the project was something they could swallow.Carol Farino, the owner of an adjacent South Point condo, urged the council to stick to its land-use code, which sets a 28-foot height limit on the property, located on the corner of Durant Avenue and Monarch Street where the former Chart House restaurant closed last year.But South Point condo owner Lidia Van Tongeren said she was willing to accept the project. Developers Jim De Francia and Skip Behrhorst have scaled back its height and increased the space between the lodge and the South Point building.”We are willing to say OK,” she said.So was most of the council, though councilmen Torre and Terry Paulson voted against the plan.”I do still believe the entire mass of the building is too much,” said Councilwoman Rachel Richards. “I just have a problem with the overall lump sum of it.”But Richards offered to vote for its approval if the developers would trim the lodge unit atop the building from 3,900 to 3,200 square feet. De Francia agreed.Councilman Tim Semrau prodded the council to approve the project, noting the city has been pushing for lodge development in its lodging/tourist/residential zone for the past several years.”I think it’s time for us to put their money where our mouths are, so to speak,” he said. “We say we want this over and over again.”If not here, where, and if not this, what?””For what it’s worth, I find this a very attractive building … I think this is the proper place for it,” Mayor Helen Klanderud said.Paulson said the building looks like a “block” and refused to endorse it; Torre commended the developers for trying to address the concerns of the neighbors and the council, but said he remained troubled by the building’s height.The proposed lodge will reach 46 feet, 11 inches on a top floor that will be set back from the building’s facade; the original proposal called for a rooftop restaurant that topped out at 62 feet, 3 inches, as measured from the midpoint of the roof. The council is currently considering upping the height limit in its lodging zone to 42 feet.With the latest changes to the ChartHouse plan, the lodge was cut from 12 suites to 11, along with two affordable housing units for workers. The original plan called for 14 three-bedroom units, to be sold in one-eighth to one-11th fractional interests, plus four affordable units. The proposed rooftop restaurant was previously eliminated in favor of a ground-floor dining establishment.With conceptual approval in place, the lodge’s developers must now return to seek final approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission and the council before they can proceed to build it.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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