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Consider the history

(This letter was originally addressed to Aspen City Council.)Dear Editor:I am writing to encourage you to consider the best interests of the historic neighborhood on North Monarch when you again address the subdivision and access issues related to the proposed alley in the “Blue Vic” plan.I continue to believe that vehicular access through an opened alley off Monarch Street will be a detriment to the historic settings of these homes. It is pretty clear from the photographic evidence presented by staff at the last meeting that the alley has rarely if ever functioned as more than a foot path. To introduce vehicle access into this area will serve to undermine the setting of all of the historic properties. Even the developer was willing to proceed with combined access from Mill and Bleeker Streets. If you are concerned about the spacing of the homes, choose to not vacate the alley and retain city control, but don’t open it up to vehicle traffic.In reviewing the list of nine landmarked properties that face the short end of the block (as provided by city staff) it is really no more than a matter of orientation of the homes to a side street than it is a significant departure from the Townsite grid. Please keep in mind that the three homes on the east side of the 200 block of North Monarch visually present a longer block and are not comprised of just one or two single homes separated by an alley or street. Access behind the home at 202 N. Monarch from Bleeker seems to be a more appropriate solution and one that more closely approximates the historic layout of the Townsite with access from alleys to the rear of the homes.I again reiterate my comments about Paragraph 14.22 excerpted from Chapter 14 of the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines, which advocates “locating driveways away from the primary facade to maintain the visual importance the structure has along a block.”It is of concern that the council was unanimously in favor of eliminating the Monarch access when the majority of public support was advocating in that direction; only to reverse yourselves at the next meeting based on what was an obvious attempt by city staff to sway your decision.I encourage you to protect the historic character of what remains of the West End, which has been increasingly carved up by overdevelopment and lot splits on almost every historic parcel with any significant land attached to it.Lisa MarkalunasAspen


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