Hotel Aspen proposal returns for public hearing
The Aspen Times
The proposal to redevelop Hotel Aspen is back before the Aspen City Council today for another public hearing.
At the council’s Feb. 24 meeting, a four-hour discussion on the project ended with a two-week continuance and a divided council. Councilmen Dwayne Romero and Adam Frisch wanted to approve the project as is, while Mayor Steve Skadron and Councilman Art Daily agreed with concerned neighbors that the renovation is not compatible with the surrounding West End neighborhood. Councilwoman Ann Mullins recused herself because she previously reviewed the application as a member of the Historic Preservation Commission.
On a lot that allows 27,000 square feet of maximum cumulative floor area, the applicant is requesting 36,500 square feet. Since the last discussion, the applicant has reduced the height of three 5,000-square-foot free-market-residential units. Gable roofs have been proposed, and the height dropped from 32 feet to 26 feet, 9 inches to the one-third point of the structure and 31 feet for the flat-roof portion at the rear of the building. Mixed-use zoning allows a maximum of 28 to 32 feet, and Residential-6 zoning allows a maximum of 25 feet. The property occupies both zones.
The remodel would increase the number of lodge units from 45 to 54 with an average unit size of 300 square feet.
In a memorandum to the council, the city staff recommends that the applicant work with the Historic Preservation Commission during final design review to potentially lower the height of the free-market units to 28 feet. The memo states that the applicant is considering changes to the project that could be presented at today’s hearing.
“Staff finds that the current proposal is responsive to Council’s concerns about the neighborhood context along Bleeker Street,” the memo states. “The residential building form, spacing and gable roof are more aligned with the existing neighborhood and residential character.
“Staff remains concerned that the overall floor area is too big for the property and the neighborhood and that the sizes of the free market residential units are too large for the mixed use zone district without the landing of a (transferable development right).”
The net livable unit sizes are 3,000 square feet larger than the allowable unit size cap in the mixed-use zone district, the memo states.
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”