Pitco sets caps in Redstone | AspenTimes.com

Pitco sets caps in Redstone

Allyn Harvey
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Pitkin County Commissioner Jack Hatfield couldn’t even remember what he was proposing for the future of historic Redstone.

Commissioner Patti Clapper was practically begging for a few weeks to consider the various proposals that have been made, along with Hatfield’s, to set new size limits on homes and businesses located along Redstone Boulevard.

Commissioner Dorothea Farris was adamant in supporting a proposal by the county planning staff to cap building sizes at 1,700 square feet in the residential section of the boulevard and 1,800 square feet in the commercial section.

Commissioner Shellie Roy, like Clapper, wanted more time to consider the implications of larger homes and businesses on the village that bills itself “The Ruby of the Rockies.”

And Mick Ireland, known generally for being the least development-friendly commissioner, was in favor of larger buildings and less restrictions.

At the end of nearly five hours of testimony and deliberation, the commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday night to set new caps on development in Redstone’s historic district. Roy was the only dissenter.

Although no one was really sure of the final details, residents of the village and surrounding neighborhoods expressed everything from relief to dismay.

“I think we came out OK,” said John Chrony, a former resident looking to move back to Redstone by converting the now-closed bookstore into a residential-only home.

“I can’t congratulate you for that – it was a shameful compromise,” Ireland was told after the meeting by Peter Martin, a longtime resident. “I can’t respect a decision that was made after a five-hour hearing when people are tired.”

That decision the commissioners came up with will likely bring an end to some of the more imaginative methods of calculation developed to get past the current regulations and build larger homes and businesses. But it will also allow property owners to build larger homes with more flexibility than staff recommended.

Now, landowners in the residential section on Redstone Boulevard will be able to build homes of 2,000 square feet on lots with a 50-foot frontage to the road, 2,300 if their street frontage is 75 feet, and 2,500 square feet if their lot has a 100-foot border with the boulevard.

Landowners with a 50-foot frontage in the area zoned for commercial development can build a 2,200-square-foot building, those with 75 feet of street frontage can build 2,500 square feet, and the 100-foot lots will be eligible for up to 2,800 square feet.

The commissioners agreed to allow accessory structures that are tall enough for a garage and an apartment. But they rejected a provision of the staff proposal that would have required accessory structures for developers who want to build to the maximum square footage.

The commissioners also rejected a proposal from local residents and business owners that would have allowed considerably larger buildings in some parts of town and a size bonus in the commercially zoned areas.

Redstone has been under a development moratorium for about a year. It was enacted after the commissioners and local residents became concerned with the use of undevelopable hillside lots to add to the area of adjoining lots along the boulevard, thus increasing lot and house size.

The county planning staff put together a proposal that would have limited house size in the residential district to 1,700 square feet with an allowance for an accessory building of up to 300 square feet.

In the commercial district, the maximum building size of new development would have been 1,800 square feet with an accessory building allowance of up to 500 square feet.

The limits applied to all lots, regardless of size, along the boulevard.

When it was presented in February, the staff proposal met stiff resistance from many business owners and residents who would like to be able to build larger homes. They were given a chance to come up with their own plan, and formed a group called the Boulevard Committee to do just that.

Their proposal had a sliding scale for building size that grew with the size of the lot. In the residential area, the smallest house size was 1,944 square feet and the largest 3,000; accessory or out buildings were allowed as well.

In the commercial zone, the building sizes ranged from 2,160 square feet on the smallest lots to 2,850 on the larger ones. A mixed commercial-residential building would have been allowed an additional 500 square feet plus an accessory unit of up to 500 square feet.

The proposal actually adopted was clearly a compromise between the desires of the business owners and homeowners who thought larger buildings were needed to preserve Redstone’s character, and the historical-minded residents who thought smaller buildings are vital to the village’s character.

“I just don’t see what matters about adding a few hundred square feet to the staff proposal,” Ireland said.

[Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is aharvey@aspentimes.com]

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