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Hotel plan is panned

The size of a proposed new hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain near the bottom of Lift 1A was panned by neighbors Wednesday during the projects initial review by the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission.P&Z members also voiced concerns about the mass of what has been tentatively named The Lodge at Aspen Mountain, though they praised the general concept of the development at that location.The project combines standard hotel rooms, fractional-ownership units, free-market condos and affordable housing on about 2.5 acres spread over two parcels divided by Juan Street.The northernmost parcel is located north of Juan Street, between South Aspen and South Garmisch streets. It currently contains a house and a parking lot. The southern parcel, on the other side of Juan Street, contains the Mine Dump Apartments and is bordered by South Aspen Street on the east. The Mine Dumps and the home would be razed to make way for the hotel.Developers are seeking conceptual approval for a planned unit development, or PUD, which allows applicants to vary from the underlying zoning regulations.The project includes a tower element that would top out at nearly 74 feet, while elevations on its north side, facing the Lift One and Timber Ridge condos, range from 58 to 60 feet. The 204,500-square-foot building is about double the floor area allowed by the zoning.I have a real concern with using the PUD to basically double whats allowed by the underlying zoning, said Jasmine Tygre, P&Z chairwoman. My feeling for the project at this particular time is its really out of scale with the neighborhood.Neighbors, primarily condo owners at Lift One to the north, voiced similar sentiments. One individual referred to the project as this monster.We will have no light, said resident Nina Zale. We will technically be overshadowed by this huge project that is totally unnecessary.That building is huge, right next to Life One, said attorney Doug Allen, representing the condo owners. Theyre going to wind up with an elephant in their backyard if this is allowed to be built.Its way to big for this neighborhood, he said.P&Z member Dylan Johns expressed hope that the developers could cut the mass on the north end of the structure, where the fractional units will be located, by half.There is little that can be done to lessen the impacts of the hotel for residents in the Juan Street affordable housing to the west, Johns conceded.The people who live in buildings to the west of this project are pretty much going to get creamed, no matter what, he said.But some P&Z members praised the architectural design of the project and the concept of a large hotel at the base of Lift 1A, which developers have proposed replacing with a high-speed double chair.I do like this use in this area, including the mixed use, said commissioner Roger Haneman.The developers have proposed 76 hotel rooms, 29 fractional suites to be sold in one-eighth shares, four free-market condos and 12 affordable housing units to replace the Mine Dumps. Other worker housing associated with the project would go elsewhere.The project also includes such amenities as a spa/fitness center, ballroom, outdoor pool and a restaurant with an outdoor, aprs-ski terrace. Two subgrade garages would provide 156 parking spaces. A bridge of hotel rooms would extend over Juan Street to link sections of the building.A company to operate the hotel wont be chosen until it wins conceptual approval, according to the applicants, but the hotel has been designed as a five-star facility to accommodate something along the lines of a Four Seasons, Auberge or Rosewood, said planning consultant Sunny Vann.The projects developers are a subset of the group that is pursuing development of The Residences at Little Nell, a slopeside, timeshare hotel to the skiers left of the Little Nell run and the gondola. That project has won conceptual approval.The P&Z is expected to hold several more hearings to review The Lodge at Aspen Mountain before formulating its recommendation to the City Council. The next hearing is scheduled Jan. 6.Only four members of the commission are reviewing the project. Four others have recused themselves, citing conflicts of interest, including two who reside at the Mine Dump Apartments.[Janet Urquharts e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]


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