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Developers shrink ChartHouse Lodge

Janet Urquhart

Developers of the proposed ChartHouse Lodge have lopped about 15 feet off the top of the building and eliminated its rooftop restaurant in response to complaints about the size of their original project from the City Council and the lodge’s neighbors.The reworked conceptual plans were submitted to the city last week and will be the subject of a special meeting of the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday.Property owners Jim De Francia and Skip Behrhorst are behind the plans for a timeshare lodge at the site of the former Chart House restaurant at the corner of Durant Avenue and Monarch Street.Their original proposal called for 14 three-bedroom lodge units; four, two-bedroom affordable housing units and a rooftop restaurant topping out at 62 feet, 3 inches, as measured from the midpoint of the roof.The new plan eliminates the rooftop restaurant; instead, a ground-floor bar/lounge will be a full-service cafe with a subgrade kitchen. The height of the building has been cut back to 46 feet, 11 inches and the west-side setback from the property line has been increased from 5 feet to 15 feet, the amended application notes.Despite the changes, the project can still achieve the developers’ goals – adding new vibrancy to that corner of town with “a quality project at a key location,” De Francia said Friday.”I think what we originally proposed, frankly, was a little more exciting,” he added. “It’s really a matter of taste and opinion.”During a public hearing last month, neighbors at the South Point condominiums to the west and the Aztec condos to the south blasted the height of the building as originally planned and complained about the potential for noise from the rooftop diners. South Point condo owners also called for more space to separate their building from the lodge.”It’s too much, it’s too high, it’s too close,” concluded Mayor Helen Klanderud.The P&Z had endorsed the conceptual plans, but the council sent the developers back to the drawing board and to the P&Z.In reducing the size of the building, the number of lodge units has been cut to 12 and there will be two affordable units. The timeshare units are to be sold in one-eighth to one-11th fractional interests.One of three subgrade levels originally proposed has also been eliminated, along with a subgrade meeting room and recreational facilities contained in the original plan. Underground parking is still proposed.Across Durant Avenue, the city has approved plans for the Dancing Bear Lodge with a top height of 46 feet, 6 inches. The nearby Mountain Chalet lodge has a top height of 51 feet, according to the city’s Community Development Department.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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