Letter: Uphold code, deny Hotel Aspen proposal
Uphold code, deny Hotel Aspen proposal
Dear Aspen City Council,
I attended three of the Historic Preservation Commission’s four Hotel Aspen meetings last year. The commission continued each meeting for a restudy of the height and footprint of the free-market units along Bleeker Street. The “ah-ha” moment came when I read the Feb. 24 packet city staff prepared for City Council. According to the council packet, “Staff did not include the actual floor area numbers of the project to HPC because floor area was not within HPC’s purview through Commercial Design Review.” Ah-ha, it hit me, four meetings at Historical Preservation Commission and no floor-area numbers. How could the commission possibly solve the footprint and height issues without knowing the floor-area numbers were significantly above code?
In hindsight, it couldn’t be more obvious why the Historic Preservation Commission struggled for four meetings of restudy on the exterior height and footprint of the free-market residential units along Bleeker Street. After the Historic Preservation Commission’s review, the project moved to two brief meetings at Planning & Zoning, where the vote was 3-1-1 in denial of the project, with one abstention. P&Z was the very first board to look at the floor-area numbers. The majority of P&Z voiced concern over the size and configuration of the free-market residential component. Additionally, P&Z was concerned about the proposal to rezone the R-6 portion of the property to mixed-use and the impact of the rezoning on the residential neighborhood along Bleeker Street.
The City Council is second only to P&Z in looking at the floor-area numbers. Actually, staff has looked at the numbers too, and it was only the Historic Preservation Commission that did not receive the floor-area numbers. I am urging City Council to uphold the code and deny the Hotel Aspen’s request for floor area beyond code and deny the height beyond the two-story, 25-foot, limit in the code that we all must follow for our homes in Aspen.
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