Revised hotel design still too big, Lift 1A neighbors insist
Revised plans for a large, new hotel in the Lift 1A neighborhood did little Tuesday to appease neighbors who blasted the original proposal a year ago.Developers of The Lodge at Aspen Mountain were back before the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission last night for what is expected to be the first of several public hearings on their revised conceptual plan. The P&Z shot down the developers’ initial stab at the project last March.While the revised plan scales back the project and cuts away the upper stories of the building where it abuts the Lift One and Shadow Mountain condos, neighboring residents are still objecting to the impact on their views.The hotel is slated to contain a mix of 82 standard hotel rooms, 23 fractional units, three free-market residences and 12 affordable employee units, along with amenities such as a fitness center/spa, ballroom, restaurant and swimming pool. In addition, the developers have offered to help foot the bill for the replacement of Lift 1A and make improvements to the base of the ski area at the top of South Aspen Street.”If the project goes forward, we really must have a new lift here,” said project spokesman John Sarpa.No one raised objections to a new chairlift in the neighborhood, but the proposed building generated plenty of complaints.”What we have is a project that has been reduced in mass less than 10 percent,” said attorney Doug Allen, representing the Lift One Homeowners Association. “If you can visualize standing in a crowd, the Lift One people are the real short people – they can’t see anything.””We would love to see some setback of some substance from our property line,” said Milton Zale, president of the Lift One Homeowners Association.Meanwhile, Timber Ridge homeowners complained that the developers had tried to address the concerns from Lift One and Shadow Mountain condo owners, but ignored them.”We’d like to be heard, just like Shadow Mountain has been heard and Lift One has been heard,” said Gailyn Waldron, vice president of the Timber Ridge association. “We have plenty of impacts in front of our building.”Several residents of the neighborhood also questioned the wisdom in drawing more vehicular traffic to steep, icy South Aspen Street, though city staffers have recommended the developers contribute to stepped-up road maintenance there.The developers ought to install a snowmelt system in the street, said Alex Biel, president of the Shadow Mountain Homeowners Association.”It seems to me, to do this without snowmelt would be absolutely silly and, in fact, homicidal,” he said.P&Z members agreed their next step will be a site visit, but they weren’t sure how best to visualize the height of the proposed hotel. Computer-generated photographs that impose the proposed structure on the landscape are probably the best bet, commission members agreed.The hotel is slated for about 2.4 acres between South Aspen and South Garmisch streets. Juan Street splits the property, but a bridge containing part of the hotel would span the gap. The site slopes upward toward Aspen Mountain, exacerbating the height concerns for neighbors to the north.The single highest point on the building is a cupola that tops out at 65 feet, according to Sunny Vann, planning consultant for the developers, Aspen Land Fund II, LLC.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.