Letter: Is the proposed Gorsuch Haus a scam? | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Is the proposed Gorsuch Haus a scam?

Is proposed Gorsuch Haus a scam?

March 15’s paper described plans for a new 60-room hotel right smack in the middle of the 1A slope (“Developers take Gorsuch Haus plans to city”). That’s right: The hotel would be erected above the lower terminal of the present 1A lift. The building would go almost to Norway Island. That’s a lot of real estate.

The developers claim they won’t be asking the city for any variances.

That sounds impressive. That is, until you find out that they are asking the city for a rezoning of the land from its present Conservation designation to Ski. Technically, I guess that isn’t a variance. But in reality, aren’t they just playing a word game? The rezoning the developers are asking for would, among other things, junk the current 28-foot height limitation. I guess that’s important when you’re proposing a building almost twice as high at 49 feet.

At one point, the city’s chief building officer described the proposed hotel as about three times the mass of the new Aspen Art Museum.

This large edifice the developers want permission to build is not, in my opinion, the “right sized” hotel they describe — particularly when you add in the seven for-sale lodge units, presumably to be sold to the uber-rich.

But more importantly, the land on which they want to place the hotel has been zoned Conservation by the city since at least 1983. As you look at the mountain from town now, what you see is pristine white in winter and green in summer.

What the developers would give us as a substitute is a mass of concrete climbing up the west side of the mountain. Think Vail!

Indeed, the city itself describes the purpose of its Conservation zoning as “to provide areas of low-density development to enhance public recreation, conserve natural resources … and to contain urban development.”

That sure doesn’t sound like Mr. Gorsuch’s Haus to me.

Oh, and Conservation of course allows a ski lift, though not, thankfully, a big hotel.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not against a new lift. Half of the lifts on Aspen Mountain are shamefully old and should be replaced. But does replacing 1A really have to include a large hotel as the price of admission? If Aspen Skiing Co. really needs a new lift to hang on to the World Cup, it could just write a check. And yes, it really, really can afford it.

Alex Biel