Correcting Clauson’s and Semrau’s version
Dear Editor:Because I have been involved since the initial request by Blue Vic LLC to open the platted alley on Monarch Street for access to the proposed property subdivision, I would like to give some background and respond to the comments made by Stan Clauson in the March 10 article published in the Aspen Times. In the first proposal submitted by Blue Vic LLC, the platted alley on Monarch Street was requested open to access the future developments on the residential and mixed-use lots of the property. It was explained by the applicant to the neighbors that the alley would provide access to parking areas for a planned mixed-use building and for one or two residential houses. The applicant believed the alley access was necessary in order to provide turnaround space for vehicles entering and exiting the properties. Since that discussion, plans have changed mostly due to not only public concern but also unanimous recommendations by the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council to deny any access via the platted alley. Planning and Zoning recommended a single access point from Bleeker Street. Council similarly agreed that an access point should come from Bleeker Street for residential access while mixed-use access should come from either Bleeker or Mill Street. At this point the applicant asserted he was willing to design residential access from Bleeker Street and subsequently amended his plans to do so. It was not until the second City Council hearing, on Feb. 27, that council began to waver in its decision to keep the alley closed.In regard to the opening of the alley hinging on city codes, only one city code was cited from the HPC Guidelines as reasoning from the applicant to open the alley. Moreover, the applicant’s cited code, HPC Guideline 14.20, does not justify opening the alley, as parking for the prior Elder residence at 202 N. Monarch St. has been accessed historically and currently from Bleeker Street. At the first City Council hearing on Feb. 13, public comments included several codes and quotes from both the HPC Guidelines and the Aspen Area Community Plan that supported using Bleeker Street as the residential access rather than Monarch Street. In regard to Clauson’s claim of HPC approval, it was cleared up in the Feb. 27 City Council hearing that HPC had not at that time unanimously voted to approve the “split-alley idea.” The city of Aspen’s historical officer, Amy Guthrie, explained at the hearing that she had had discussions with the applicant and had taken the idea to a HPC workshop. To my knowledge there has been no official vote by HPC regarding the access to this property, as property access has been addressed by City Planner James Lindt, of the Community Development Department, not HPC.I hope this information will further explain that the city does not need to mandate the opening of the alley and that the applicant should not see the city as doing so.Wyley HodgsonAspen
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Aspen School District’s younger students will return to class next week, but that’s not the case for those in the seventh through 12th grade, who will continue to take courses from home.