Council still mulling land-use code changes
ASPEN Presented Monday with hundreds of pages detailing a proposed overhaul of the city’s land-use codes, the Aspen City Council decided to continue its discussion at a meeting Tuesday.The decision comes against the backdrop of the city’s moratorium on development applications, which was implemented in April 2006 and is scheduled to expire May 31. The council passed the moratorium, originally scheduled to last six months, in response to growing community concerns about construction and development.Now the council is faced with rifling through tweaked and modified land-use codes that address the city’s five commercial zone districts, multifamily residential districts, service-commercial-industrial districts and historic districts, among others. The proposed ordinances cover everything from mandating a variation in building heights to decreasing floor-area ratios, to just about everything else in between.”Are we going to get any new development [with the proposed code changes], or are we going to get development that meets our goals?” Mayor Helen Klanderud asked. The City Council was scheduled to either approve or continue six ordinances related to the code changes on Monday night. They decided to continue the discussions with city planners on Tuesday at City Hall.The turnout for Monday’s public hearing was sparse, given the amount of local outcry that was the catalyst for the moratorium, and, in turn, the proposed code amendments.”I’m surprised we didn’t have more public comment,” said Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss. “I thought more people would be here.”Regardless, council members listened to city planners explain the new legislation, some of which they agreed to.Other components they believed needed further review. Among those were the proposed use changes for the SCI district, otherwise known as the service-commercial-industrial zone. The Obermeyer Place project is part of that district, which also includes the North Mill Street building, located across Puppy Smith Street from the Clark’s Market shopping center.Changes to the SCI district, originally intended to create affordable business opportunities for service-minded entrepreneurs, include the allowance of unlimited office space on the second floor for services such as real-estate firms and medical offices.Councilmen Torre and Jack Johnson took exception to that measure, as well as others proposed for the SCI.Klanderud questioned the desired effect of a code amendment that would allow lodges in the downtown core. Klanderud expressed concern that lodges could morph into fractional ownerships or condominiums, and because of state statutes, there’s nothing local lawmakers could do to prevent that from happening.The SCI concerns, as well as the one related to downtown lodging, were just a smattering of what’s before City Council. It has already extended the moratorium twice, and council members have said publicly they want to hammer out the new land-use changes before the City Council undergoes a changing of the guard in June, after the May 8 election.Rick Carroll’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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