City Council wants to see Aspenwalk plan change
ASPEN – On Monday, Aspen City Council members resumed their discussion of a planned public-private redevelopment of two lots in east Aspen’s Sunny Park Subdivision for three buildings that would contain 17 affordable-housing units and 14 free-market residential units, along with subgrade parking. The properties are located at 404 Park Ave. and 414 Park Circle. The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, which is seeking to add residential units to its affordable-housing inventory, is a partner in the project, which is known as Aspenwalk.The council last reviewed the project on Oct. 24. Since then, two things have occurred: Pitkin County District Court appointed Denver-based Cordes & Co. as the receiver for the assets of the bankrupt owner, PFG Aspenwalk; and the receiver hired Cottle Carr Yaw Architects to address architectural concerns from the council and the property’s neighbors.Mike Staheli, representing Cordes & Co., spoke during the meeting about how the receiver wants to move forward with the project for the benefit of PFG Aspenwalk’s creditors. Project approval would make the land more valuable to a potential seller and redevelopment of the property would be beneficial to the community, he argued.After a two-hour discussion among council members, Staheli and planners – most of which focused on the basics of receivership and design changes by Cottle Carr Yaw – a majority of council members indicated they wouldn’t support the project as it currently stands. Though they praised some aspects of the buildings’ redesign, most council members expressed a desire for a further reduction in mass.While Councilman Torre complimented the planning-design team for the changes that have been made since the beginning of the process, he said he still couldn’t support the project.”I don’t need to nitpick about architectural features. I don’t need to talk about the green space. I still think this is the wrong place for this type of development,” he said. “This is so tough because so much work has gone into it, and there is affordable housing which is a much-desired component to this. “The merging of the lots and the ability to do underground parking here has really changed the character of what this property would traditionally be developed as.””This needs more work. That’s what I’m hearing from the council,” Mayor Mick Ireland said.”Obviously we don’t have the votes for what’s before you right now,” Stahlei said.Instead of asking for a vote, Staheli and the planners agreed to a postponement in order to study the possibility of further changes to the project. Monday’s public hearing was continued to the council’s Feb. 27 regular meeting.In other City Council news, council members changed the local liquor code to make it legal for people between 18 and 20 to serve alcoholic beverages at restaurants and bars as long as an employee 20 or older is present. The change brings municipal law into conformity with state law. Some local businesses “inadvertently” have been breaking the law, City Clerk Kathryn Koch said. The local law prohibiting those between 18 and 20 from serving alcohol was not being enforced, city officials firstname.lastname@example.org
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