City gets close look at Truscott appearance |

City gets close look at Truscott appearance

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Truscott Place affordable housing project could benefit from some new paint and taller trees, members of the Aspen City Council said while on a tour of the site Tuesday.

Three council members looked over the buildings that have been drawing complaints from the community and agreed to look into funding for an exterior decorator.

Calling the current piecemeal colors of light yellow, brown and green “a downtown San Francisco color scheme,” Councilman Tim Semrau said the buildings stand out, and a new paint job could help them blend into the background.

“The difference of colors draws attention to the design, and the design is not necessarily pleasing,” Semrau said. “What can make the buildings disappear? If we match the shades to the background, they’ll blend in well.”

City staff will look into hiring a firm that could take a photo of the Truscott Place project and digitally alter it to show its appearance in different colors. The price of repainting all of the units could reach $85,000, said City Manager Steve Barwick, and would be added to the cost of the entire project.

According to Assistant City Manager Ed Sadler, who is also serving as a project manager for the development, the complaints about the buildings are primarily coming from golfers at the adjacent Aspen Golf Course. Many golfers say the units block their views of Independence Pass.

“It’s new, it’s different, and like everything else I’ve been involved in, the first three months are critical, and then the issue goes away,” Sadler said. “It takes a while for people to get used to it. But if this was a different height and a different color, I’d still get complaints from completely different people.”

Sadler said the current color scheme should last seven to 10 years without needing to be redone. New paint for the project would last around five to seven years without needing a touch-up, depending on the weather.

Landscaping is another bone of contention with the project, although Sadler pointed out that many of the trees and shrubs around the project’s western edge are not in the ground yet. City Councilman Terry Paulson requested that taller spruce trees be planted around the buildings, to buffer them year-round, rather than just in the summer.

A one-story berm is also in the works for that side of the project.

“Once the trees are out of shock and they start growing, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Sadler pointed out. “These trees here were only planted a month and a half ago.”

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

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