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Cultural facility wins nod

Janet UrquhartAspen Times Staff Writer

Plans for a cultural facility on the Bar/X Ranch won a tentative nod from three members of the City Council Tuesday, though support from one member was tepid at best.A cultural/educational facility of some sort on the ranch was envisioned in the original preannexation agreement Aspen struck with the Zoline family. The deal outlined the Burlingame housing project, free-market homes on the adjacent Zolines’ land and the cultural component.The Planning and Zoning Commission, however, recently panned the cultural facilities at the ranch as inappropriate on a site so far from the center of Aspen.”I read this proposal as sprawl,” said P&Z member Jack Johnson.John Lifton, representing the Zoline family, sought the council’s view before including the facility in a development application the Zolines will be bringing to the city for their planned residential development.”Do you want to see some version of this in our final submission or not?” he asked.Conceptual plans for the facility call for 12 residences for faculty members and a cultural building that includes an assembly hall seating up to 200 people, along with a 30-space parking lot. The facilities would be available for public and private nonprofit uses, according to Lifton.”Is there truly a need for something like this?” asked Councilman Terry Paulson. “What you’re proposing here is probably three times bigger than anything I envisioned.””I’d feel more comfortable if one or more nonprofits were sitting beside you saying `We need this facility,'” said Mayor Helen Klanderud, voicing concerns about parking, traffic and the upzoning of what is now rural acreage. “I’m not sure that what you’re proposing here would meet a need that has been identified by those who would use it.”The Aspen Music Festival and School would be interested in the housing, said John Doremus, who sat on a committee that unsuccessfully explored opportunities for facility housing.While such a facility was envisioned with the preannexation agreement, it should be pursued because it’s a good idea, not because a previous council endorsed it, Klanderud argued.She opposed the proposal, as did Paulson.Council members Tim Semrau, Rachel Richards and Torre all indicated they’d be open to seeing some cultural uses as part of the Zolines’ development application, though Torre objected to the scale of what has been proposed thus far.[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]


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