New HPC criteria put to the test
October 9, 2002
Aspen is about to put its newly crafted historic preservation criteria to the test.
Owners of the Holland House have asked the city?s Historic Preservation Commission to judge the ski lodge under its new criteria with the hopes that the HPC will recommend rescinding the historic designation that was placed on the property in 1995.
The lodge, founded by Dutchman Jack de Pagter, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, but the miner?s cottage that housed the original Holland House on Aspen Street was moved elsewhere in 1963. It is still the home of Jack and his wife, Anneke.
Today the lodge, now run by Yasmine de Pagter and Jack Simmons, consists of a building constructed in 1956 and an addition constructed in 1963-64. Both have been subject to various alterations over the years.
When the lodge was listed on Aspen?s historic inventory in 1995, it was cited as an ?outstanding example of more modern architecture.?
Since then, the city has spent considerable time redefining the criteria it uses to assess historic buildings. The HPC?s efforts to add a number of post-World War II buildings to its inventory two years ago sparked an uproar among affected property owners and led to the overhaul of Aspen?s historic preservation regulations.
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The City Council adopted two new ordinances that govern the preservation program earlier this year. When the HPC meets tonight, members will consider the historical significance of the Holland House within the context of the new rules.
?It?s kind of a trying case,? said Julie Ann Woods, the city?s head planner. ?It?s the first one using our new criteria. It?s an important building in terms of its location and its representation of the early ski era.?
The new evaluation system calls for assessing the building?s location, design, materials and workmanship. Also to be considered are its association with significant events or historical trends; people whose contribution to history is deemed important; and its representation of a distinctive period of construction and design.
Actual scoring sheets allow the HPC to tally up the points the chalet-style Holland House earns for its various design elements.
For the city, historic preservation officer Amy Guthrie, zoning officer Sarah Oates (former archivist for the Aspen Historical Society) and consultant Debbie Abele, who helped write the new preservation ordinances, all scored the lodge. Their consensus score of 79 tops the threshold of 75 points out of a possible 100.
The lodge?s owners gave the Holland House a score of 61, and their consultant gave it a point total of 45.5.
?We?ve had so much change on the building over time, we don?t think it meets the criteria,? said Yasmine de Pagter.
The alterations are a consideration, but not the only one, according to Woods.
?We?re not questioning that. They?re right. We totally understand that,? she said. ?That?s what makes it hard to make the decision.?
Before tonight?s debate, HPC members will score the lodge, as well.
?I think it?s going to be really interesting to see where people land,? Woods said. ?It?s too close to call.?
Yasmine de Pagter and Simmons were active participants in the many public hearings that concluded in adoption of the new preservation ordinances.
They are contemplating an addition and renovation to the lodge and have frequently voiced concern that the historic designation will hamper their ability to upgrade the property. Historic buildings cannot be razed and exterior renovations are subject to HPC review and approval.
The ultimate decision on whether or not the historic designation for the Holland House is rescinded will rest with the City Council.
[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]