More planning applications submitted to Aspen Community Development department
The Aspen Times
Aspen’s planning office received two more development applications Friday, including a request for greater height at Hotel Aspen and yet another viewplane-exemption request from Mark Hunt.
Hotel Aspen owners Michael and Aaron Brown are seeking to alter approvals from 2014, increasing the height of the project’s lodging component from 28 feet to 32 feet. Commercial-design review in the mixed-use zone district allows for 32 feet.
In 2014, the approval process for the new lodge was dominated by discussion about the height of three free-market residential units. After hours of the debate across multiple meetings, the units were downsized from about 35 feet to 25 feet, resulting in 3-1 Aspen City Council approval.
The applicant, represented by architect Stan Clauson, also is requesting that the city grant affordable-housing certificates. The project provides an excess of 1.25 full-time employees, which Clauson said was not addressed during prior discussions. Certificates carry a value of as much as $300,000 each, according to officials.
Hunt submitted a scrap-and-replace proposal for 447 E. Cooper Ave., a 9,000-square-foot structure next to Casa Tua that houses Pismo Fine Art, the Aspen Goldsmith and Mark Richards. The application represents the third this week from Hunt that includes a mountain-viewplane-exemption request.
The timing is notable because on Tuesday, Aspen voters will decide the fate of Referendum 1, a growth-control measure that would strip the council of its ability to grant variance requests on height, mass, parking and affordable housing without a public vote. Approval of viewplane exemptions also would trigger public voting.
City Attorney Jim True said Friday that it’s his opinion that Hunt’s applications would not be subject to the measure if it’s approved because they were completed beforehand.
Hunt’s project would see the building torn down and replaced with a two-story, 28-foot-tall, 23,300-square-foot structure that conforms to the commercial-core zone district. However, the mountain-viewplane requirement only allows for a height of around 21 feet.
Additionally, Hunt is requesting to pay the city $588,000 in lieu of providing 19.6 parking spaces. Plans do not include free-market residential units.
Aspen’s planning office received four other development applications this week, two of which Hunt submitted. One would see the property home to Grey Lady, Jimmy’s Bodega and the Popcorn Wagon replaced with a 28-foot building. The other application is a redevelopment project on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall that would replace the structure next to New York Pizza, which houses retailer Magasin. Both projects include viewplane-exemption requests.
Redevelopment applications submitted by St. Mary Church and the Golden Horn building also include viewplane-exemption requests. The church is seeking to build an addition with a 20-foot structure that’s within code but exceeds the Pitkin County Courthouse’s viewplane. Developers of the Golden Horn, once home to Takah Sushi, are proposing an expansion that would impede the Wheeler Opera House’s viewplane.