Litigation delays Mill Street Commercial Center hearings
Another rezoning hearing for the Mill Street Commercial Center has been postponed because of the backdrop of litigation.
The Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission’s scheduled meetings to review the rezoning application were postponed in January and March, and most recently last week’s April meeting was continued until May 15.
The meetings have been postponed, City Attorney Jim True said last week, because of ongoing talks between the city and the North Mill Street Investors, which owns the two properties eyed for rezoning — 465 N. Mill St. and 557 N. Mill St., both of which are next to the Aspen post office and across Puppy Smith Street from the Clark’s Market shopping center.
“We are in discussions with the owners of the property regarding some method of resolving our litigation, and it did involve continuing the P&Z hearing,” True said. He would not provide details about the discussions.
Both buildings are owned by North Mill Street Investors, which includes Aspen developers Andy and Nikos Hecht. The two properties are part of the city’s service-commercial-industrial zone district, and include such tenants as Aspen’s only coin-operated laundromat, as well as a sports consignment shop and other businesses.
North Mill Street wants to rezone the property to mixed-use so it can redevelop the buildings, which would likely mean the displacement of the existing tenants.
The land-use application to rezone the property has been pending since July, while North Mill Street Investors also has sued both the city government and City Council over changes to its land-use code prohibiting the development of free-market residential in SCI zones.
However, the lawsuit, which was filed in Pitkin County District Court on Feb. 28, 2017, has yet to be served on the defendants. A motion filed by North Mill Street Investors and dated March 14 delves into the reasons for the non-service, saying the plaintiff has “submitted to the city of Aspen a rezoning application for the real property at issue. The city of Aspen’s determination of that application could impact some or all of the claims set forth in a complaint.”
Chris Bryan, one of two Garfield & Hecht PC attorneys representing North Mill Street Investors in the litigation, declined to comment last week about the case.
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Basalt town government and its consultants have been working on an update to the 2007 land use master plan since April. The process has entered a critical stage. Residents can help determine density on key land parcels and other important issues at a meeting tonight.