Housing project is out of step with Aspen, Pitkin County’s desires | AspenTimes.com

Housing project is out of step with Aspen, Pitkin County’s desires

I would like to offer several clarifications regarding Rick Carroll’s article in the Oct. 26 edition of The Aspen Times. I attended the Aspen Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Oct. 24.

The article seems to suggest that those of us who live in the Castle Creek Valley who spoke were suggesting that the P&Z members should recommend denial of the project. That certainly was not the case with my remarks, and I don’t think any of the other residents who spoke suggested that the project be denied. I have participated and commented in both of the open houses that were held in the spring and have written two letters discussing this proposal. In March, I sent a nine-page letter to the City Council, the Board of County Commissioners (who share a common master plan for the area, the Aspen Area Community Plan) and various staff members. On Oct. 18, I submitted a second letter to the city P&Z, the BOCC and various staff members. Both of these letters were included in the P&Z packet.

In both letters, I suggested that the 28-unit project as proposed is clearly inconsistent with certain provisions of the Aspen Area Community Plan, as adopted by both the city and the county, which states that both the city and county “continue to support an Urban Growth Boundary where density is concentrated in the commercial core and gradually tapers to the (UGB) boundary.” The site of this housing proposal is only 75 feet inside both the city boundary and the Urban Growth Boundary. The area within the county just to the south of this site is zoned AR-10 by the county, which permits a maximum density of one residential unit per 10 acres.

What I did suggest is that the housing proposal for this site is too tall (it is a four-level building, with two housing projects immediately on either side — the Marolt Ranch seasonal housing and the Castle Ridge project — which are each only two stories high). I went on to suggest that the housing proposal is too dense — based on net lot area, the density is 51 units per acre (far greater than the density of other affordable apartment projects in the vicinity, including the Castle Ridge project, which is only a third of the density of this proposal across Castle Creek Road).

Finally, the parking proposal, which probably includes an inadequate number of spaces at 29 spaces, and which is built right to the property line, and is only 10 feet removed from Castle Creek Road, is unacceptable in terms of its visual impacts on the scenic Castle Creek Road corridor.

I don’t speak for the other members of the Castle Creek Caucus, but I support affordable housing on the 488 Castle Creek Road site — just not the project that is currently before the city for review. It is a case of trying to cram too much building onto a 35,000-square-foot site which includes around 11,000 square feet of steep slopes on two sides of the triangular site.

Joe Wells

Coordinator, Castle Creek Caucus

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