Restrictions ahead for future formula business in Aspen

Feb 6, 2017

A view of downtown Aspen from the Little Nell ski run.
Credit Aspenjournalism.org

Elected officials in Aspen are moving forward with plans to regulate formula businesses downtown. Council members on Monday night agreed to adopt proposed restrictions brought forward by a concerned citizen’s group.

It would be up to certain city officials and the volunteer-based Planning and Zoning Commission to allow — or deny — businesses that have 11 or more establishments anywhere in the U.S. to set up shop here. They will also be scrutinized if they have a combination of standardized merchandise, services, facades, decor and color schemes, uniform apparel, signs, or a trademark or a service mark.

The vetting will be matched against criteria not fully flushed out yet. The hope is to create a balanced mix of commercial uses to serve both resident and visitors.

While some council members were hesitant to advance the effort because of unintended consequences and unknown economic ramifications, they said it’s a bigger move aimed at protecting the future of Aspen’s commercial makeup. The restrictions do not affect any current retailers or restaurants.

Council is scheduled to review a proposed resolution on Feb. 13, with public hearings to follow.