Council mulls what is good infill?
The Aspen City Council Monday night voted to continue discussion of a proposed redevelopment at Spring Street and Hyman Avenue. Council members cited the usual concern with the proposal: It is inconsistent with the Aspen Area Community Plan.The proposal is “not what I would call good infill,” Councilman Torre told the developers and their representatives. Although Torre conceded the project meets code, he doesn’t believe it fits the spirit of the community plan and that the inconsistencies are precisely why the council imposed a moratorium on building applications and permits.”If this is the project we’re getting,” he said, “I say we are missing the mark.”The applicant, Hyman Avenue Holdings LLC, proposed adding roughly 2,440 square feet of commercial or office space to the Hannah-Dustin building at 300 S. Spring St., as well as two free-market residential units and three affordable-housing units. The developer has made significant changes to the plans since they were last presented to council, most notably raising the affordable-housing units high enough so that at least 50 percent of the units would be above ground.The development codes under which the plan was proposed allow the applicant several options to meet affordable-housing mitigation requirements without building those units on-site. Furthermore, the codes allow the construction of affordable-housing units below grade.Stan Clauson, representing the applicant, stressed that when the codes were written, the permission for below-grade affordable housing was considered an incentive for developers to include the units on-site.”The code may permit affordable-housing units to be totally subgrade, but I don’t believe the code requires me to approve” such a design, Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss told Clauson.Mayor Helen Klanderud, however, didn’t see sufficient reason to deny the application.”You have met the requirements of the code, and I would be hard-pressed not to approve,” she said. “This is the code we have right now.”Council members Rachel Richards and Jack Johnson, however, were prepared to deny the application on the basis that it doesn’t meet the goals the AACP set forth, primarily because of what they considered insufficient parking and because the subgrade affordable-housing units are not livable.Although council members had similar concerns about a project at 719 E. Hopkins Ave., they voted 4-1 to approve plans for redevelopment in that spot, with DeVilbiss dissenting.That building currently has six free-market residential units. Under the approved plan, it will be replaced with two free-market units and three affordable-housing units – two studios and one two-bedroom.
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