Consultant: City mandating ‘Blue Vic’ alley
The planning consultant working on the development application for the proposed “Blue Vic” project insists his client isn’t pushing for a contentious new alley.Aspen city planning staff and city codes mandate an alley between Monarch and Mill streets, Stan Clauson said. He said his client has no desire to open up the alley.”People are getting the impression that Tim Semrau wants to open up that alley,” Clauson said. “He doesn’t care about the alley or not. City codes provide that, when there’s a platted alley, it be utilized for access.”The Blue Vic house, at 202 N. Monarch, is on the Aspen Inventory of Historically Designated Sites and Structures. Built in the 1890s, the blue Victorian house is one of Aspen’s oldest.Semrau and a partner purchased the property recently. He plans to subdivide it, build a commercial building and move the blue Victorian diagonally toward Bleeker and Monarch streets. He would then have enough room to build another house on the property. Neighbors have objected to a part of the plan that includes a new alley parallel to Bleeker between Monarch and Mill streets.On Monday, Semrau’s plan goes before the City Council for the third time.Clauson said Semrau would be amenable to using the alley off Mill to access the commercial part of his proposed subdivision while using the alley off Monarch to access the residential component. Or, failing that, he would be happy to access the residential part with a new driveway off Monarch, if the city would allow it.”As part of the subdivision application process, we need to show how we’re going to access the property,” Clauson said. “The initial approval showed alley access as required by the code and the staff. After neighbors objected to having commercial traffic coming off Monarch, we offered to split the alley access, restricting the commercial access to the part of the alley coming off Mill. The Historic Preservation [Commission] voted unanimously to approve the split-alley idea.”Then, Clauson said, neighborhood opposition started focusing less on the commercial traffic issue and more on retaining the open space values of the part of the alley coming off Monarch.”There are conflicts of values here, but there are no bad guys,” Clauson said.Today, the city government will place stakes to show where the alley from Monarch and where a driveway from Bleeker would actually be located.Neighbors argue that the alley has never been used and, therefore, ought to be retained as open space.
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