Special election date picked for Lift 1A corridor at base of Aspen Mountain
Now that a date has been set for a special election, the clock is ticking on the fate of future development at the base of Aspen Mountain’s west side.
A Feb. 5 election has been scheduled so the voters can sign off on whatever plans materialize in the next several months.
Aspen City Council and the four landowners at the base of the mountain agreed last month to a plan that brings a new chairlift down to Dean Street.
A new lift 1A would be paid for by the developers of the Gorsuch Haus, a hotel proposed at the base of the mountain.
Lift One Lodge, which would be located adjacent to Gorsuch, already has approvals for a fractional lodge.
However, both properties will have to be reconfigured to accommodate a new chairlift.
Officials expect that those hotel redesigns will likely trigger a public vote because of variances to the land-use code that developers may ask for. The development and lift would affect city-owned property, which also requires a vote.
As a result, there could be as many as three ballot questions that would go to voters once all the pieces come together.
But first the Historic Preservation Commission, the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission and Aspen City Council have to approve the plans.
Currently, there are no conceptual plans formulated. There are dozens of moving pieces that need to come together before land-use applications are filed, said Jen Phelan, the city’s Community Development deputy director.
She’s working with the developers and Aspen Skiing Co. officials on site plans for the ski corridor and will be bringing them in front of three review bodies this week — P&Z on Tuesday, HPC on Wednesday and the city’s open space and trails board Thursday.
“I just want our boards to see the site plans to see if they gel,” Phelan said. “We want to get initial feedback.”
Formal review of the land-use applications will occur in the coming months, along with public outreach. If the plans are approved, ballot language will be solidified in November, Phelan said.
According to City Clerk Linda Manning, a special election will cost between $20,000 and $25,000. She said she selected the first Tuesday of February because an election cannot be held within 90 days of another one. The midterm elections are Nov. 5.
City planners had planned an aggressive timeline for review this summer to get any questions on the November ballot but they soon realized it wasn’t enough time, given the complexity of the project.
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