Seasonal housing plan wins first OK
A seasonal housing project for music students and ski company workers won conceptual approval Tuesday from the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission.The P&Z voted 4-2 to allow the Music Associates of Aspen to proceed with its application to build 50 units on a portion of Burlingame Ranch, about a mile west of downtown Aspen. As proposed, each unit will contain four private bedrooms, housing some 200 young musicians in the summer and about the same number of Aspen Skiing Co. employees in the winter.Yesterday’s hearing was the second in less than a month, and it was apparent several changes had been made to the proposal. The original plan called for 68 three-bedroom units with parking around the outside edges of the buildings.The parking lot has now been placed at the center of the buildings, which are smaller than originally proposed. Also, plans to excavate the lot have been altered to lower the berms needed to hide the project from motorists on Highway 82.”We’ve attempted to reduce the overall impact of the project in line with concerns raised last month,” said land-use consultant Jim Curtis.But even with the changes, Curtis and others working on the project spent nearly three hours fielding the P&Z’s concerns. Much of the time was spent discussing access to public transportation and likely effects on county roads and the highway.P&Z members Jasmine Tygre and Tim Mooney were not satisfied enough with the answers to vote for the project.”My problem with this project is that it has been done backward,” said Tygre. She voiced concern that the project is being fit into an acceptable lot, without really addressing the real need for affordable and seasonal housing.In voting against the project, Mooney said the MAA needed to resubmit its proposal with better data. He wasn’t swayed by the fact that the application was at a conceptual phase in the process.The MAA is hoping to finish construction by June 2000, in time to house students for the summer sessions at the Aspen Music School and Festival. The units will replace those lost with demolition of the Grand Aspen Hotel, which is scheduled to be torn down later this year, according to a representative for the MAA.Yesterday’s decision does not send the application on to the City Council. Instead, the MAA was granted permission to make a final proposal to the P&Z.
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