Letter: Hotel Aspen remodel would degrade Main Street
Hotel Aspen remodel would degrade Main Street
The Hotel Aspen, located on the corner of historic Main Street and Garmisch, is asking City Council to approve “super-sized” condos in the West End. The development also plans a large hotel on Main Street. This all comes under the guise of a PUD, or planned unit development, wherein the applicant has skirted the special review process: 1) by asking for an additional 9,500 square feet (more than allowed by code) in the free-market condos on Bleeker Street; 2) by asking permission to tear down several 50-year-old healthy pine trees on the north side of the lot and Bleeker Street so these inappropriate condos can be built; and 3) by asking the public to bear the burden of $91,000 in mitigation fees. This application doesn’t protect the existing “small lodge character,” when its height and mass exceeds everything in the neighborhood by approximately 10 feet (with the exception of iconic historic landmarks.) More aptly stated: This application is an abuse of the process. The PUD was written to incentivize owners of “small lodges” to remodel or upgrade, in order to keep the small-lodge character, while allowing some free market. This application does neither. Council should just say “no.”
What is even more offensive are the large massive “industrial” designed condos on Bleeker Street. They are an insult to the zoned R6 neighborhood where 95 percent of the residences are Victorian with pitched roofs. These maintain the character and views of the neighborhood.
By definition, a PUD should give back to the community in public amenity. This application gives back nothing to the community; nor does it even protect or promote “ the small lodge” character which presently exists on this site.
Elimination of 50-year-old trees, which are as much of West End Victorian ambiance and character as the built environment, should not be allowed. This is the only way the developer can get his massive, three-story industrial free market duplexes on the site.
Why can’t the developer design a multi-family attractive Victorian of today such as the Semrau multi-unit property? There are many other surrounding attractive new developments in the neighborhood built in the design of today, that appropriately complement the Victorian and its low mass roof.
In the long run, council should not approved this application, as its planner Stan Clausen said, “Nothing further can really be done.” Moreover, it sets a precedent in the accelerating degradation of our lovely historic Main Street and attractive, coveted West End.
The next council meeting on this is Monday, Feb. 10. Please try to attend.