Limelight back in spotlight Monday | AspenTimes.com
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Limelight back in spotlight Monday

Kimberly Nicoletti

Neighbors and developers expect the City Council on Monday to end the long wait for a decision on the contentious Limelight Lodge proposal.Limelite Lodge co-owner Dale Paas has been working to address height, alley access and architectural features that concern neighbors and council members. Though architect John Cottle said he couldn’t accommodate the Planning and Zoning Commission’s request on Dec. 13 to decrease the height of the project by 10 percent to 15 percent, Paas said they’re re-evaluating.”We have given the architects direction that they need to look at every possible option with coming as close to the P&Z’s recommendation and still ending up with a project that will work,” Paas said.The redevelopment of the Limelite Lodge (the proposal changes the spelling to Limelight), Snowflake Inn and Deep Powder properties is the first project the City Council is considering under new code amendments designed to rejuvenate lodging in Aspen. On Jan. 24, more than 40 people sat through a six-hour City Council meeting to voice their support for or opposition to the proposed 125-room lodge and 17-unit free-market residential project at the corner of Monarch Street and Cooper Avenue. At that meeting, the council continued the discussion to Monday’s special meeting.Neighboring property owners spoke against the height, mass and density of the two-building project – one lodging and one residential – saying the development would be the first of many to take away from the small-town, historic feel of the neighborhood.”My fear is that this is the beginning of a trend to move massive buildings north of Durant,” said Kathy Pitner, an owner at 210 Cooper. “If this gets approval, it will become a precedent. We will see it move down Main Street. It will change the nature of our town.”Council members also expressed concerns about the lack of pedestrian-oriented setbacks, the dead-end alley and the fact that the residential building is tall and makes up 40 percent of the project.After conceptual reviews last year, the project’s developers decreased heights in the residential building – from 48 feet to 42 feet and lower – by removing the partial fourth floor. But neighbors at 210 Cooper still want to see a lower residential building. Though neighbors haven’t had an official vote, homeowners association President Bob Leatherman said the residents want it close to the 28-foot residential height limit. If the residential component came before the City Council unattached to the lodging proposal, the code would limit its height to 28 feet.”We’d like to see them succeed, but not at the expense of the views we’ve come to like,” Leatherman said.On Thursday, Paas said he feels optimistic about presenting a viable project at Monday’s meeting but added two weeks is a push to come up with a new plan.”Our architects are getting up really early in the morning and staying up really late at night,” Paas said in a good-natured tone. “I told Bob Leatherman that I’ll show him the plans before the council meeting, but said [jokingly], ‘Don’t get ink on your clothes, because it’s going to be really fresh.'”Kimberly Nicoletti’s e-mail address is knicoletti@aspentimes.com


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