Timberline lodge proposal clears hurdle with Aspen Historic Preservation Commission
October 2, 2017
A bank's plans to convert the second floor of a Main Street building into two lodging units has cleared its first government board hurdle.
Members of the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously last week in favor of a minor development and commercial design and growth management review by Grand Junction-based Timberline Bank.
But as Sara Adams, the planner representing Timberline Bank, noted after Historic Preservation Officer Amy Simon gave a 20-minute presentation to the board Wednesday, "there is nothing minor about this."
That's partly because Timberline is one of the first applicants to test the city's overhauled land-use code, which was adopted in February.
Under the revised code, Timberline could not build residential units in the building at 122 W. Main St. — unless they were for employee housing — but lodging is permitted at the building, which is part of the city's mixed-use zone district. The two units proposed would be located above Timberline's banking offices, which currently are located on the 700 block of East Hyman Avenue.
Simon said the lodging units would be used for out-of-town bank employees and others in Aspen doing business with Timberline. Otherwise, they would be available for anyone to use.
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"It will be maintained by a property management company," she said.
Two aspects of the HPC's resolution, however, gave Simon pause because they were fluid. In other words, the resolution notes that the city could grant a "change in use" to the units in the future.
"We want to be vested under the code we applied under," she said, adding that "we're just a little concerned that staff was trying to implement a policy before it was being adopted."
The part of the resolution that concerned Adams, however, was not removed.
Members of the HPC were generally supportive of the project, with some calling for slight revisions to the front porch and others not keen on some of the building's colors.
"Architecturally I'm OK with the proposed changes," HPC member Jeff Halferty said.
Timberline bought the Main Street property, known as the Northstar Office Building, for $2.85 million from Monarch I LLC on May 17, according to Pitkin County property records.
Built in 1995, the three-level, 2,853-square-foot building (basement included) is not a historic landmark, but the commission reviewed the proposal because the property is located in the Main Street Historic District.