Pitkin County has limited clout in Four Seasons proposal, manager says
Pitkin County can do nothing to stop the property eyed for a Four Seasons Hotel from being annexed into the city of Aspen, other than provide feedback about the proposal.
“We don’t have necessarily a role in a yes or no, but we do have a role in contributing our concerns about the impact, particularly to unincorporated county properties,” County Manager Jon Peacock told county commissioners during a work session Tuesday.
On June 26, Developer Cisneros Real Estate submitted a proposal to annex 6.6 acres of Pitkin County land, located at the foot of Shadow Mountain at 705 W. Hopkins Ave., into the city.
It’s the first step in what promises to be a lengthy, drawn-out process for the developer, whose plans call for 140 lodging units, 31 fractional-ownership units and four free-market units.
As it currently stands, the land is zoned for agricultural and residential in the county. The 6.6 acres of land as well as the remaining 13 acres on the property is well within the city’s Urban Growth Boundary. And, Peacock noted, annexation into the city would entitle the developers to municipal services, and they would be beholden to a less stringent land-use code.
“There’s a lot that needs to happen and a lot of analysis that needs to happen,” Peacock told the board. “We can weigh in on those studies, but we don’t have a formal role in allowing or disallowing annexation.”
The city’s project overview says the proposal “does not contemplate variances in height, density, employee housing or parking, and will comply with City of Aspen requirements as it relates to employee housing and parking. … As presently envisioned, the primary entry to the site will be from Main Street via 6th Street with an entry to a sub-grade garage between Fifth and Sixth Street on West Hopkins.”
While the proposal is in its infancy, Commissioner Patti Clapper acknowledged there will be issues.
She noted the “little island” of single-family homes on the intersecting Seventh Street, which is in the county, will be affected.
“It’s a huge impact on those constituents in the county that live in that residential neighborhood,” she said.
Commissioner Rachel Richards also recalled when the Burlingame ranch land, which later was converted into an affordable-housing development, was annexed into the city in 2000. Richards, who was mayor at the time, and her fellow council members brought the annexation to a vote. They could have, however, passed an annexation ordinance without going to voters.
“When Burlingame was annexed into the city we made a deliberate decision to have a vote on it, though it wasn’t required,” she said.
Clapper said the county needs to keep a close eye on the process as it unfolds because of the “city’s interest in lodging opportunities.”
“We need to be very serious and diligent about our comments,” she said.
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