Park Place garage still rolling |

Park Place garage still rolling

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The would-be developer of an Aspen parking garage says he’ll turn to the voters after failing to get approval of the project from the City Council.

Peter Fornell picked up a petition from City Clerk Kathryn Koch on Thursday and expects to have it in circulation next week. He’ll be collecting signatures from registered city voters who support his plan for a 99-space garage, which he dubbed Park Place, on Hyman Avenue.

The petition asks voters if Ordinance 58 should be adopted. That’s the legislation, granting approval for the parking garage, that the council voted 3-2 to reject last week.

If Fornell can collect 736 signatures ” 15 percent of the city’s registered voters ” the measure will go to voters in a special election, according to Koch.

Fornell says there are plenty of supporters of his project who are willing to circulate the petition. He plans to advertise a list of businesses where interested citizens can go to sign one.

“I’m taking my claim to the people,” he said, “in order to show the City Council that the community wants parking downtown.”

The only opposition to the project has come from its immediate neighbors, Fornell noted.

Fornell said he expected Councilman Terry Paulson to reject the proposal with an argument that a garage would promote vehicle use, but said he was surprised when Councilwoman Rachel Richards and Mayor Helen Klanderud voted against it, too.

Their constituents want the garage, he contends.

Fornell appeared before the council on Monday to ask that it bring the ordinance back for reconsideration, but no one on the council was willing to make that motion. Only someone who voted with the majority ” in this case the trio who voted against the project ” can make a motion for reconsideration.

Neighbors to the proposed garage predicted congestion resulting from queued vehicles idling in the street.

Some council members wondered if the garage would offer much public parking, since Fornell proposed selling off most of the spaces in the garage for $100,000 to $125,000 apiece.

Fornell predicted many of the spaces would be available for daily use by the general public, when they weren’t being used by their owners. He also says the garage could be built solely for daily rental, without condominiumizing the spaces, if that’s what the city prefers.

He also offered to cut the height of the building in response to the council’s concerns.

Fornell is a local real estate broker representing developer Hyman Avenue Holdings, LLC. The investors have proposed a $6 million garage with an automated system to load and retrieve vehicles from cubby hole-style spaces spread over seven levels. Two affordable housing units are part of the project.

Park Place would occupy a 6,000-square-foot parcel at 707 E. Hyman Ave., next to the Benedict Commons affordable housing. An A-frame building containing offices exists there now.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is]

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