Sky Hotel proposal still might fly
A proposal to redevelop the Sky Hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain came before the city’s planning and zoning commission Tuesday night – just long enough to be continued to another meeting in November.The Sky Hotel proposal was the first to come under review after the city’s new lodging incentive codes took effect – months before the city implemented a moratorium on building applications and permits.At a P & Z meeting Jan. 31, owners at the neighboring condominium complexes were opposed to the project, which they feared would darken their properties and block views.P & Z stalled the plan with a 3-3 vote, even though city staff had determined that the applicant, Aspen Club Properties, had met all of the requirements under the new codes. At the time, planner Sunny Vann told the commission that developers designed the project specifically with the new criteria in mind.At the Jan. 31 meeting, city staff interpreted the tie vote as a denial of the project, according to Community Development Director Chris Bendon, and the Sky Hotel applicants submitted an appeal to City Council – also before the moratorium.But the city has since reinterpreted the vote as a “failed motion.” “What our codes require is that our boards take action, either approval or denial,” Bendon said. The failed motion “is not considered action in our code.” The commission needs a majority vote to take action.Without that majority, the situation is the same as if a member makes a motion to approve or deny and it does not pass. A new motion reflecting changes or conditions of approval can still be introduced. In essence, Bendon said, it’s as if discussion about the Sky Hotel proposal had been continued to a later date.Bendon appeared at Tuesday’s P&Z meeting to explain the change to the board, which will review his memo on the subject.At this point, Bendon said, attorneys for both the applicants and neighbors can appeal the reinterpretation – although it would not really serve the applicants to appeal the current decision, he said. If the reinterpretation stands, the Sky Hotel proposal will come back before P & Z in November.Neighbors may wish to appeal the new decision, however. Bendon said an appeal hearing before the council is scheduled tentatively for Oct. 23. Neither Bendon nor City Attorney John Worcester was certain what would happen if the reinterpretation doesn’t succeed. If the original denial stands, it doesn’t necessarily mean the project is dead, since the applicants filed an appeal before the moratorium. Worcester said they would cross that bridge when they come to it, if it happens.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Officials are investigating the source of a loud explosion at Smuggler Mine on Saturday morning.