Shadow Mtn.development plans in limbo
A tentative deal to develop a mixed affordable and free-market housing project at the base of Shadow Mountain has fallen through, and the future of the development project is apparently in limbo.Longtime local resident Hans Gramiger said Wednesday that he is still hoping to sell the 10-acre parcel of land he owns at the base of Shadow Mountain, adding that he has plans to leave the area after he sells the property.Although he was reluctant to say much about his plans, Gramiger confirmed yesterday that he is looking for a buyer for the land, which includes not only the flat terrain at the base of Shadow Mountain, but a considerable section of the mountain itself.There also has been talk about Gramiger donating land to the county for a park.”Have you ever heard the term, `It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings’? ” Gramiger demanded Wednesday when asked about his plans for the property.”Well, that’s where I’m at right now,” he said.The land, which Gramiger has owned for decades, was the subject of a hearing before the Aspen City Council and the city Planning and Zoning Commission in November 1999.Michigan developer Rob Cumming presented a sketch plan that outlined a mixed free-market and affordable housing project for the 2.5-acre parcel at the base of the mountain. The plan called for 33 affordable housing units and nine free-market homes on 2.5 acres.Gramiger and his attorney, Dave Myler, described Cumming as a “potential buyer” and the person mainly responsible for the development idea.The project got a favorable initial review under the city’s new “sketch plan” regulations, which provides a way for developers with a complicated or potentially controversial project to test the waters before going through the expensive process of submitting a formal application.But Cumming said Wednesday that he is no longer in line to buy Gramiger’s property, and was unsure about the status of the development.”I paid for it,” he said of the sketch plan proposal, which was put together by Design Workshop in Aspen. He would not say why he backed out of the project, nor why he is no longer a potential buyer of the land any more.Dan Martineau, a neighbor of Gramiger’s, said that a meeting between Cumming and the neighbors shortly after the hearing was “very friendly.”No one said, `not in my back yard,’ ” Martineau recalled.But, he said, the neighbors clearly expressed concerns about a variety of issues, including access off Seventh Street, the loss of an informal trail along the old Midland Railroad rail bed at the base of the mountain, and the high density of the proposed project.City Planning Director Julie Ann Woods, who worked with Cumming to prepare the presentation for the City Council and P&Z, said she has received no further communications from Cumming or Gramiger about the project.And a staffer at Design Workshop, which drew up the plans for the presentation, said the firm also is in the dark concerning the project.
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