Lumberyard starts down final review road |

Lumberyard starts down final review road

Staff report
The final design for the Lumberyard affordable housing project.
City of Aspen/Courtesy image

The final public review process for the City of Aspen’s Lumberyard development application begins this week.

The Aspen City Council last fall directed staff to submit the Lumberyard affordable housing development application with 277 units and 467 bedrooms to the City’s Community Development Department, which deemed the application complete on Dec. 6, 2022.

The first public hearing to review the land use application was in front of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday. After a review, the commission is expected to make a recommendation via resolution to the City Council, which will hold public hearings later this spring.

The city-owned Lumberyard development site is 11.3 acres and is located next to the Airport Business Center. The city purchased the land over the course of several years with the intent to build deed-restricted units to address the affordable housing crisis in the upper valley.

The development application comes after four years of public outreach, community engagement, and City Council work sessions to determine conceptual and schematic designs for the project.

Since 2019, the city has conducted several rounds of outreach, including stakeholder meetings, pop-up events, surveys, community open houses, networking, online interactions, emails, fliers, and other engagement tools in which hundreds of people participated.

“The design of the buildings and everything about this project is underpinned by community outreach,” said Chris Everson, the city’s affordable housing project manager. “We listened to the community and brought that feedback to City Council. Council prioritized to have as many units as it could responsibly fit on the site while incorporating amenities and priorities that were most important to the public.”

Progress on the The Lumberyard timeline shows there’s still a long road ahead.

The planned development includes three, 100% accessible four-story buildings that will be certified as sustainable, with solar panel rooftops and green building techniques that will result in a 75% energy-use offset, city officials said. Other amenities include underground and surface parking, communal spaces for residents, new public streets, pedestrian and bike trails, and improved access of Highway 82.

“We have spent considerable time getting this project to where it needed to be based on public feedback, and we arrived at this place through a well-thought-out process that looked at our values, and we made tradeoffs to address the community’s priorities,” Aspen Mayor Torre said. “I look forward to hearing more input during the public hearing process.”

If approved the Lumberyard is approved, the city will begin construction of infrastructure in 2024 and seek competitive public-private partnership proposals from developers for financing, construction, and long-term operation of the housing facilities.

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