Public asked for more input on Lumberyard affordable-housing project
City of Aspen looking for input on a new neighborhood where the streets have no name
Members of the public have one more week to weigh in on some of the finer details of the city’s largest affordable development being planned in over a decade.
Known as the Lumberyard project — since it is situated on the city-owned site of Builders FirstSource, a supplier for the construction industry — has been in the planning phase for three years.
City housing officials got the go-ahead from elected officials in September to submit a development application that details in hundreds of pages and exhibits 277 affordable-housing units with 467 bedrooms in three, large four-story buildings on 11.3 acres adjacent to the Airport Business Center.
The application is with the city’s community-development department and kicks off the formal land-use review and approval process.
Aspen City Council earlier this fall had directed city staff to do a fifth round of community outreach in the form of two open houses held earlier this month and provide an online survey that is available to fill out until Dec. 2 on http://www.aspencommunityvoice.com.
The project and design team is looking for new feedback on the site’s public-transit options and help in naming the neighborhood and its streets.
“Whenever there is a big project on the horizon, we want to hear people’s opinions,” said Chris Everson, the city’s affordable-housing development senior manager.
He and the project team have been conducting consistent public outreach about the project since the fall of 2019, and much of that information has helped inform council’s decisions about the development.
This next round of questions is just as meaningful, Everson said, because it asks about people’s public-transit preferences — such as having direct and frequent bus service from the development to town and vice versa or have it be part of the route that serves Burlingame Ranch, the city’s other large affordable-housing development just northeast of the lumberyard.
The city also wonders if there isn’t a better name for the neighborhood and is asking people to offer suggestions, as well as what the streets should be called and if there is a theme to follow.
Council in May agreed to the team’s 100% schematic design of the project, which incorporates the community’s input and promises 195 new deed-restricted rental units and 82 ownership units.
Council’s goal has been to begin construction in 2024, and completion of the land-use review and approval process in early 2023 is a crucial milestone toward that, Everson said.
The project will be built in phases, with the first being in 2025 with a targeted goal of occupancy in 2027 and the second one in 2028 and 2029.
While new restaurants enter the Aspen scene, there are several spaces that will remain empty this winter. Meanwhile, the retail market remains extremely hot.