Letter: Hotel Aspen proposal warrants scrutiny
At 5 p.m. Monday, March 17, the Aspen City Council will vote on the proposed Hotel Aspen development. I am writing to share my thoughts on this project and encourage other residents to attend the meeting and learn about the project. If approved, it will be a very prominent building in a critical location, and it merits the due consideration of the community.
Why is Garmisch and Bleeker an important intersection? While the development team has referred to it as a “transitional” area, I believe the term “gateway” is more appropriate. Our home is a half block from the site of the project and on summer days, we watch many of Aspen’s most loyal and valuable visitors from around the world walk through this corner on their way to the Aspen Ideas or Music festivals. I would venture that many attendees view their stroll through the West End as one of the staples of their festival experience. Summer mornings will find children congregating at Yellow Brick for camp pickup while evenings find families enjoying a quiet time on one of Aspen’s few playgrounds. This is a strategic corner not only for the West End neighborhood but for Aspen and our guests as well.
The scale and mass of the development facing Bleeker Street is inconsistent with anything else on the street with the exception of the Hotel Jerome. The immediate impact will be the encroachment on the corner and Yellow Brick playground area. A secondary, and perhaps more important, impact could be on the east/west view down Bleeker Street. This wonderful tree-lined view has been carefully nurtured and protected over the years through setback and scale guidelines in building codes. This is tremendously valuable and any potential impact should be rigorously examined — because once disrupted it can never be recovered.
This is an important location. This project will have an effect. I would ask fellow residents to please join me at the March 17 City Council meeting and ask the City Council to do the extra diligence so that we can all understand the true impact of these variances being asked of the neighborhood and the community. Story poles, 360-degree elevations are just a few of the actions that are routinely taken in projects like these to enable more objective discussions and ultimately better decisions.
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