Lodge at Aspen Mountain redux
The one thing that I really, absolutely believed to be true was John Sarpa’s statement to the City Council, just before they denied the project, that he could not and would not make the Lodge at Aspen Mountain any smaller.Whoops, wrong again.Now the massive project is baaaack, with a reduction in size, for another hearing on Monday, Sept. 24. Forget Monday night football, the City Council meetings on Grassroots (channel 11) are Aspen’s Reality TV, the best show in town.The city has been perceived to be somewhat over a barrel because the developers of the LAM already have approval to build 14 townhouses on the site, but the other side to that coin is that they really don’t WANT to build those townhouses and, by calling their bluff, the city now finds itself in the catbird seat.I expect that the developers, Centurion Partnership, are well aware of this shift in power and will probably come back on the 24th with even more slashings and public perks in a last ditch effort to get the project approved.If denied again, who knows (stay tuned) what will happen – the fat lady doesn’t seem to be singing about this project, though many crocodile tears have been shed. In the end, we can survive with 14 more townhouses if we have to, and the Mine Dumps apartments are a done deal and won’t be resurrected.Meanwhile, there has been a movement asking the City Council to draw up a master plan for the entire area, which includes not only the LAM but moving the Skier’s Chalet for another big time-share operation, a ski museum and the relocation of a new Lift One.This strikes me as an excellent idea, allowing the council to consider the development of that entire corner of the forest as a whole, rather than giving piecemeal approvals (or denials) of all the different components of what will eventually be massive digging and extreme crane activity at the west end of the mountain.If the LAM is approved, the project across the road will demand the same concessions, so it would be wise to stop and figure out what would really be acceptable there and allow all the developers to go with that or go away.Meeting AlertMark your calendar for this Friday, Sept. 21, for another keypad clicker vote, this one asking for feedback on the mix of commercial use in Aspen and what (if anything) to do about it. It’s from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hotel Jerome. Don’t miss it. These “instant feedback” events are entertaining and informative and this one includes a free lunch.Su Lum is a longtime local who hopes the questions are more to the point than the ones about the Entrance to Aspen, which were fully loaded. This column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.