It’s official: 1960 home is historic
The owners of a 1960 chalet-style house on Aspen’s east side became the first owners of a post-World War II property to seek the city’s historic designation under historic preservation rules adopted two years ago.
The city’s attempt to designate a number of such homes and commercial properties en masse in 2000 raised a furor among property owners, including Tony and Kathy Welgos.
Yesterday the couple embraced the designation, though many of their neighbors spoke out against the lot split the Welgoses were accorded as an incentive to seek a historic designation for their Riverside Drive home.
The City Council voted 4-0 to approve both the designation and the lot split; Mayor Helen Klanderud, a Riverside Drive homeowner, recused herself from the debate.
“I feel very proud to have our home listed on the historic registry,” Kathy Welgos told the council on Monday.
Without the designation, the Welgoses, or a subsequent property owner, could tear down the existing home and build a new one of about twice the size of the existing chalet.
The lot split gives the couple the ability to construct a second home of about 2,400 square feet on the new lot rather than building a new home or adding on to the historic structure – a house of about 2,200 square feet.
The house is the first postwar Aspen property to be designated as historic since 1996, according to Amy Guthrie, the city’s historic preservation officer. Eight other structures built within the past 50 years that the city considered architecturally important have been razed or will be soon, she noted.
Neighbors had no objections to preserving the Welgos’ home, but raised various objections to the lot split. The new house will block the view of the existing one from the street and the two houses will be closer to each other than setbacks would normally allow, some residents noted.
In addition, the new house will destroy the gardenlike setting of lots in the neighborhood, and alterations planned for the existing house, which has already seen changes, will further compromise its historical features, neighbors said.
A 500-square-foot bonus in floor area awarded by the Historic Preservation Commission in conjunction with the designation and lot split rankled others.
Council members, however, were pleased to see a postwar property owner volunteer for the designation. Three years ago, they wondered if they could come up with incentives that would prompt anyone to preserve such homes, noted Councilman Tim Semrau.
Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com