Tweaked county building plans on way to council
Most of the members of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission approved plans Wednesday for a new Pitkin County building, though they had a few conditions, officials said Thursday.
“Overall we saw a pretty positive response to the project,” said Jon Peacock, Pitkin County manager.
County officials plan to gut the current 17,000-square-foot building at 530 E. Main St., completely reconfigure and rebuild the inside, add a 23,000-square-foot building to the back of it and an 8,000-square-foot, 12-space parking garage underneath it. The $22 million building is slated to be finished by fall 2017.
City planning staff wanted three changes to the building, including reducing the mass and scale of the building’s north side, increasing the distance between the proposed addition and the Pitkin County Courthouse next door and better tying the building’s architectural elements to both the courthouse and the current county building, said Justin Barker, senior planner for the city.
“The architectural features didn’t really match either building,” Barker said.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Peacock said he thinks the architectural tweaks can be accommodated. However, the issues of mass and the proximity of the new addition to the courthouse will likely be more difficult to address, he said.
That’s because the building must fit on a relatively constricted area, Peacock said. City staff suggested putting some of the building under Veteran’s Park, though Peacock said that is something county officials want to avoid.
“Those two issues are much more difficult to accommodate — if we can accommodate them at all,” Peacock said.
That said, however, county officials want a building that meets the community’s needs and satisfies the city’s design parameters, he said.
“Our hope is we’ll be able to arrive at something we all agree on,” Peacock said.
Historic Preservation Commission members voted 4-1 to approve the plans with the city staff conditions.
Still, if the City Council denies the county’s plans, state law allows commissioners to override the denial with a majority vote. That same law says governmental buildings must be addressed within 60 days, or the plans are deemed approved.
The county submitted its application March 18, meaning the city has until May 18 to make a decision. The City Council is scheduled to address the plans April 25 on first reading and at a public hearing May 9, Barker said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The Aspen Filmfest program, which opens Tuesday night with the Jessica Chastain-led drama “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” is a tribute to the founder, Ellen Kohner Hunt. The festival will also recognize the memory of Hunt with “Ellenfest” on Thursday.