Zupancsis rezoning would allow Aspen gov’t flexibility
The Aspen Times
A potential rezoning of the Zupancis property on Main Street will allow the city greater flexibility in its aim to shore up about 50,000 square feet in City Hall, police and downtown-office space needs.
Officials are requesting to rezone 540 E. Main St. from commercial to public use, which would allow the possibility for planned-development review. Baseline dimensions are not included in planned-development review.
City-hired land-use planner Alan Richman said Thursday that the current commercial zoning at the property already allows for significant development. For context, he pointed to nearby 625 E. Main St., a recent redevelopment that houses Aspen Design Room and the UPS Store, among other businesses. Describing the rezoning as a housekeeping item, he said it would result in a change from high-density commercial to high-density public.
“You obviously look at what’s around you,” Richman said. “If you’ve got two- and three-story buildings around you, you’re not going to get to build a six-story building just because it’s public. … If you want to say putting in (planned-development review) opens up the opportunity to do all sorts of stuff, well, yeah, but logically, it’s going to be judged by its surroundings.”
He said the type of review that planned development allows for is common with public projects, citing Aspen’s fire station as an example. Regardless of the space-needs project, he said the property should be rezoned because it allows for much cleaner land use, a point Capital Asset Director Jack Wheeler agreed with Thursday. Current uses at the property, which include the city’s Parking Department, a small cabin and two outbuildings, are nonconforming uses.
The rezoning application has support from the Historic Preservation Commission, but it will need the green light from the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Aspen City Council, as well.
The council is currently weighing two conceptual design options for the space-needs project and could narrow it to one this month. Both plans are in the $37 million to $40 million price range.
The first option calls for a City Hall expansion and the construction of a new 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot building at 540 E. Main St. A new police station would occupy about half of the new space, and the city plans to repurpose the Rio Grande and Galena Plaza buildings.
The second option would see the Rio Grande and Galena Plaza buildings expanded into a new City Hall and a new Police Department built at 540 E. Main St. or nearby on Mill Street. This option would include about 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of new space for city offices and 16,000 square feet for the new police facility.
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