ChartHouse Lodge wins council nod
The corner of Monarch and Durant was deemed appropriate for another large hotel Monday with the Aspen City Council’s approval of the ChartHouse Lodge.The hotel, with 11 units that will be sold in one-eighth shares, will replace the defunct Charthouse restaurant on the corner.The council gave the project the final go-ahead on a 3-1 vote with Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss dissenting. Councilman Jack Johnson, who reviewed the project as a former member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, recused himself.Topping out at 46 feet 6 inches, the ChartHouse will match the height of the Dancing Bear Lodge already approved for the opposite side of Durant Avenue, but it will be lower than the nearby St. Regis Aspen and Mountain Chalet, on the other side of Monarch. Its ratio of floor area to its lot puts it within the range of adjacent buildings, added Jim DeFrancia, one of the project’s developers.Nonetheless, the height and mass of the hotel troubled at least two council members during a review two weeks ago. Since then, the developers have made architectural alterations to the facade to help “mitigate the apparent mass of the building,” DeFrancia said. The changes include different exterior materials, the addition of French balconies on upper rooms and more window boxes, among other modifications.”This is not a massive building, nor does it appear to be,” DeFrancia said.Developers offered a rendering of the proposed building behind existing, large cottonwood trees to be retained along the street, but at least one resident was unimpressed.”The trees die, but a bad building is going to be here forever,” Les Holst said.Councilman Torre, who had qualms about the size of the building and voted against its conceptual approval a year ago, said he remained “conflicted.”However, he concluded the site is appropriate for a building of its size.”This area and this lot do not set precedent for other lots,” he stressed.DeVilbiss, however, balked at the height.”I’m concerned about the cumulative effect of buildings that are tall,” he said. “I think we should have some experience enforcing an ordinance,” he added, noting the tendency of development proposals to deviate from the underlying zoning.Some council members, however, were concerned that the former underlying zoning would allow low-density, residential development of the site. The developers previously sought a lot split for a residential project, but it was unclear last night whether that option remains open.”We only have so much area close to the core to rebuild the lost lodging base,” Councilwoman Rachel Richards said.”I certainly prefer it to two single-family or duplex lots on that location,” Mayor Helen Klanderud said.Noting the number of large construction projects looming in the neighborhood, however, Klanderud called for strict management of construction traffic and impacts and suggested the city regulate the emissions of construction vehicles for various projects.The ChartHouse project will include a restaurant/lounge with patio seating, open to the public, and the developers will put $250,000 toward a planned Dean Street pedestrian corridor.The 11 units at the lodge include bedrooms that can be locked off, creating 21 rooms that can be rented when they are not in use by their owners.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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