Sundeck work gets green light |

Sundeck work gets green light

Jeremy Heiman

Demolition of a landmark atop Aspen Mountain can start on schedule next Monday.

The construction management plan for a new Sundeck Restaurant won approval from Pitkin County Tuesday, clearing the way for the Aspen Skiing Co. to begin the project with removal of the existing building.

Yesterday’s action was not without contentious moments, as representatives of the Little Annie Homeowners Association, the Aspen Alps and the city of Aspen tried to throw up roadblocks to protect their constituents from the impacts of construction.

Commissioners OK’d the management plan unanimously, but with a long list of amendments – some suggested by county staff, some by citizens, and some from a list sent by attorney Charles Siemon.

The most contentious issue has been the plowing of snow from Little Annie Road, prohibited by the county’s Rural and Remote zoning code. Because the code prohibits “winter maintenance” without defining winter, some confusion exists about exactly what is prohibited.

The county gave the Skico permission to plow the road from April 5 until summer, but refused to permit plowing in the fall or in subsequent years, except in case of emergencies. County staffers recommended, and commissioners agreed, that the county should not accept failure to meet construction schedules as an emergency that warrants plowing. The Skico agreed to the restriction on fall plowing.

Little Annie homeowner Randy Gold criticized commissioners for permitting the company to open the road in spring, a move that he said is illegal and was done largely without public input.

“You guys took it upon yourselves to ignore what the law says about plowing,” Gold said. He said though the Skico got the approval on the actual construction project last June, they didn’t complete their construction management plan draft in time to allow comment by the neighbors.

Commissioner Mick Ireland told Gold the county differs with him on the definition of “winter maintenance” and on what rights the Skico might have as a property owner on Aspen Mountain that predate the Rural and Remote zoning that governs much of the backside of the mountain.

Also discussed at length was weekend truck traffic on both Little Annie Road and the Summer Road on the front of the mountain. Trucks will be allowed to operate on the roads serving the mountain on Saturdays during the spring and fall off-seasons, but not between June 1 and Oct. 1.

Aspen City Manager Amy Margerum complained that most of the construction traffic would be routed to the Summer Road, creating an unfair burden on town citizens.

Other stipulations include the following: The Skico must investigate citizens’ complaints, the company must report to the county as to whether lead paint or other hazardous materials are in the building materials to be recycled on top of the mountain and the Skico must enforce the speed limit on Little Annie Road. In addition, truckers may not use “jake brakes” – devices that use engine compression to assist braking, creating loud engine noise on deceleration.

The original Sundeck building, built in the 1940s, was designed by Fritz Benedict and Herbert Bayer. Parts of that building were incorporated into the present building when it was constructed in 1959.

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