Planning commission rejects Shadow Mountain homesite |

Planning commission rejects Shadow Mountain homesite

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – A proposed house site on the lower slopes of Shadow Mountain, on property formerly owned by Hans Gramiger, was rejected Tuesday by the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission voted 5-0 to recommend denial of an application to divide a collection of mining claims into three lots, creating a new, 1.6-acre site for a single-family home perched above Hopkins Avenue on a bench of land on lower Shadow Mountain. The proposal also would carve out about 18 acres of open space on Shadow Mountain that would be turned over to the county. A third tract of almost 10 acres, primarily composed of the Homestead Lode mining claim, was sold by Gramiger to Westchester Investments in 2000 and contains the former Gramiger house on West Hopkins Avenue.

The Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation will go to the Pitkin County commissioners, who will make a final decision at a hearing that has not yet been scheduled.

Seeking the subdivision and other approvals associated with creation of the homesite is The Pride LLC and Joan Alexander, Gramiger’s companion and caregiver before his death in 2005. The colorful Gramiger tried for years to build a restaurant, which he intended to call On the Rocks, at the peak of Shadow Mountain, the rocky outcropping that flanks Aspen Mountain’s west side and looms over town.

His former property includes fingers of land that extend from the top of Shadow Mountain down to Hopkins Avenue near Fourth Street and Seventh Street, and, on the opposite side, Castle Creek.

A bench of land above and slightly to the west of the intersection of Fourth Street and Hopkins Avenue contains the proposed new homesite. It is above the Midland Trail and west of the Little Cloud Trail. The parcel that extends down toward Seventh Street, purchased by a neighboring property owner, contains Gramiger’s old house, while a strip of land atop Shadow Mountain and extending down to Castle Creek would become open space under the subdivision proposal.

The county’s Community Development staff recommended the application be denied. A driveway to access the house site encroaches on slopes that exceed a 45 percent grade and the site is within a rockfall area, according to a memo to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Development there is prohibited by the county’s land-use code for both of those reasons.

In addition, the county maintains that Gramiger’s sale of the 10 acre-piece that included his house was an illegal subdivision of the land and that there is no development right associated with the remaining acreage, according to Suzanne Wolff, county planner.

The applicant is seeking the development rights for a residence of up to 7,500 square feet through the purchase of three transferable development rights, Wolff said. A 5,000-square-foot residence with the purchase of two transferable development rights was mentioned Tuesday as an alternative, she said.

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