Parking garage developer Peter Fornell has gathered enough signatures to put his project to a public vote, but a protest challenging his petition drive is apparently in the offing.
Aspen City Clerk Kathryn Koch verified Monday that Fornell has collected the signatures of 763 registered city voters – he needed 736.
However, local attorney Michael Hoffman confirmed yesterday that he intends to file a protest on behalf of the Bell Mountain Residences Association. The Bell Mountain townhomes are located across the alley from the proposed garage site on Hyman Avenue, next to the Benedict Commons affordable housing.
Hoffman declined to comment on the nature of the protest until after it is filed. The Bell Mountain association is working with homeowners across Hyman from the garage site, he said.
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Fornell, meanwhile, said he has faith in the validity of his petitions. He gathered most of the signatures himself.
He launched the petition drive after the City Council rejected his plans for Park Place, a high-tech parking garage, late last year.
Fornell said his true goal, however, is not to put the project on the ballot, but go back before the council to work out a project the city finds acceptable.
“I know there’s been a lot of focus on the purchase price of the spaces,” he said. “There’s a misconception that it’s only going to be for rich people to use.”
Fornell represents Hyman Avenue Holdings LLC, which proposed the $6 million, 99-space garage. Most of the spaces are to be offered to individual buyers for $100,000 to $125,000 per space, but made available to the general public when owners aren’t using them.
The public will be able to park in the garage for between $12 and $20 per day, depending on the season. “That’s competitive with on-street parking and affordable for the majority of people,” Fornell said.
He expects most of the spaces to be available to the public most of the time, noting that a private, downtown surface lot is rarely anywhere close to full. The spaces in the lot are leased individually.
Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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