City won’t put hotel before voters | AspenTimes.com

City won’t put hotel before voters

ASPEN ” The Aspen City Council will not put the Lodge at Aspen Mountain on the ballot.

In a unanimous vote after an executive session late Monday night, City Council members decided not to put the controversial hotel project before the voters. Mayor Mick Ireland was not present for the vote.

The controversial hotel proposal, slated for South Aspen Street near Lift 1A at the base of Aspen Mountain, failed by a 3-2 margin to gain approval during Monday’s regular City Council meeting. The decision prompted developer John Sarpa to request that the city refer the matter to a public vote.

“I think it’s a really complicated application, and what will happen is a simple marketing campaign directed by [Centurion] featuring all the positive things about the project ” hotel rooms, a new lift … so let’s just get it done,” said Councilman Steve Skadron on Tuesday. He, along with Councilman Dwayne Romero, voted in favor of the project on Monday. “Turning over an application that is this complex and expecting the voters to make an informed decision, I don’t think that is the right decision,” Skadron said.

Centurion Partners could still try to take the project to the voters themselves through a citizen initiative. That strategy would require them to collect sufficient signatures from city voters to have the project placed on a ballot.

However, the ordinance rejected by the council Monday could not be put before voters as it’s currently written. According to special city counsel James R. True, the ordinance includes both legislative and administrative matters; only legislative issues can be addressed through the initiative process.

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Sarpa could not be reached to comment on Centurion’s plans for the project by midday Tuesday. See Wednesday’s Aspen Times for more on what’s next for the project.

Jeanne McGovern’s e-mail address is jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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