New list of potential Aspen historic sites possible
October 13, 2010
ASPEN – City Council members on Tuesday indicated they would support a newly solidified list of the types of Aspen houses that can be designated as historic landmarks.
The list is updated from one established in 2002 that noted three different styles of post-World War II architecture in Aspen. The council eventually tabled the talks on an effort to revitalize the city’s historic preservation efforts.
But Councilman Steve Skadron lauded the effort, saying Aspen’s identity as a quaint mountain resort town hinges on an effort to protect past ways of life, including the building styles.
“A primary component of protecting that character is protecting our past,” Skadron said.
Councilman Torre also glad-handed the initiative, saying Aspen residents must understand the importance of keeping its character.
“The story is starting to be told,” he said.
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The new list is a product of 21 months of work by the Historic Preservation Task Force. It works from an Internet poll conducted by the task force based on a short, informative documentary that outlines the evolution of architecture in Aspen from its mining days up to the 1970s.
Responses to the online poll largely indicated a desire to see the styles in question have an opportunity for preservation.
But Mike Maple, a member of the task force and an Aspen resident, said the scant number of people who participated in the poll was hardly anything to go by. Twenty-four people responded to the questions, which included, “Would you miss certain styles of architecture?” and “Is there enough information out there about the topic to make an informed decision?”
Five of the 24 people were not Aspen residents.
“I just don’t think that is an indication of overwhelming community support,” Maple said.
Councilman Dwayne Romero said he was ready to support the list as is, saying it wasn’t too comprehensive.
“We don’t need to pitch out any styles here,” he said.
The list is part of an initiative by the city and Historic Preservation Task Force to find a middle ground on a controversial 2007 emergency order approved by the City Council. That order placed a number of properties on a list that prevented renovations or additions.
At the end of August, the council asked city historic preservation staff for an amendment to the rule that would make being on the list the decision of the property owner.
City staff plans to have a final draft of a new policy in place by the end of the year.