Johnson: Hotel OK was a `grave error’
Eagle County Commissioner James Johnson claims that an El Jebel hotel proposal received first-round approval purely by accident.Johnson, who made the motion to approve the hotel as part of the Kodiak Park project, said it was his intent to follow all of the conditions suggested by the Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission.Johnson said that allegedly confusing wording in a planning staff memo about the P&Z action was the basis for his motion. He said he didn’t understand that the P&Z didn’t want the hotel approved as part of the project. Instead, he said he thought the P&Z didn’t want the hotel on one specific piece of the owners’ property.”This was a major miscommunication,” said Johnson.After receiving a complaint Tuesday from a Roaring Fork Valley resident and getting a call from P&Z chairman Gary Ross clarifying the board’s intention, Johnson said the “miscommunication” became clear to him.”I realized I had made a grave error,” he said.The eight-page planning staff memo at the center of the controversy says on page one that the planning commission approved Kodiak Park with conditions. The first listed condition is: “There shall be no hotel on the site.”But page eight of the memo contains wording that could be interpreted differently. That wording says: “The site plan shall contain no hotel, or cabin at the southeast end of the ski lake.”Johnson said he didn’t realize when he made his motion that the hotel was opposed anywhere on the property.The project, including the hotel, must earn two more votes of approval. However, Johnson won’t be around to vote. He is leaving office later this month because his family is moving to Kentucky.Johnson has one more meeting remaining, but he said he won’t ask for a reconsideration of the Kodiak Park motion. Instead, he plans to write a letter explaining the miscommunication and asking the commissioners to reconsider the hotel when the project comes back for second-round review.
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