Aspen Government

Your Morning News - December 17th, 2014

Dec 17, 2014

Aspen Still Debating Mark Hunt Plans

Aspen planning officials could not come to an agreement last night about whether to recommend a possible new lodge. It's one of two similar lodges proposed by Chicago developer and Aspen transplant Mark Hunt.

The meeting was already a continuation of a discussion earlier this month. Last night, Hunt and planner Mitch Haas presented the proposal again: a three story lodge with rooms under 200 square feet, to fill Aspen’s affordable lodging gap. Called Base 1 it would Include a rooftop terrace and basement amenities like a bowling alley open to all. It would be located across from City Market and Hunt explains why he sees that as a good spot.

“We have our busiest retailer across the street. There’s a gym, there are offices, there are condominium buildings that actually operate like hotels. And yeah, there are residences there. But I think it’s a very eclectic part of Aspen.”

Of about a dozen public comments, the vast majority were in favor of the proposal. But concerns about design and requested exceptions led commissioners to hang up the towel for the evening. Stan Gibbs is Commission Vice Chair, and feels the building does not fit the commercial guidelines for the lot.

“There’s a lot of residential and affordable housing around there, and I think a big building has compatibility issues.”

Hunt and Haas did not comment afterwards, but were visibly frustrated during the meeting. Commissioners will take up the issue again at the beginning of January. A city planner at the meeting last night said the proposal would still be on track to go before City Council later next month. That’s when Council will also consider a similar lodge by Hunt, called Base 2.

Your Morning News - December 16th, 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Aspen Planners Consider Mark Hunt Proposal on Lodging

Planning officials in Aspen are considering whether to allow certain exceptions for one of the development projects Mark Hunt is involved with. The Chicago businessman has purchased more than a dozen properties in town in recent years.

The project would be built on Main Street, where a Conoco gas station is now. Aspen’s planning and zoning commission is reviewing a laundry list of exceptions that Hunt is asking for. Aspen Senior planner Sara Adams says one is canceling what’s called impact fees.

“So that comes to a total of about $91,400, roughly, in impact fees.”

Hunt is also requesting a height increase, more than doubling the amount of floor space, eliminating the required two to three affordable housing units while leasing more than twenty parking spaces in the Rio Grande Parking Plaza rather than building more parking for guests.

The proposed building would be three stories tall with a gable roof and a rooftop deck. The rooms would be on the smaller side. Hunt has said the effort is to boost the affordable lodging in Aspen. Again, city planner Sara Adams

“First floor is retail, restaurant, lodge lobby. Second and third floor are all lodge rooms. You know a hundred and seventy to a hundred and eighty square feet, average size, bunk beds.”

In the basement there would be amenities like a bar and a Turkish steam bath. The proposal is goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission tonight. Members will decide what recommendations to make to City Council which will consider the proposal. Another Hunt development that’s very similar will be considered in January.

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

This week the White River National Forest released an oil and gas plan. But, does that settle the matter on drilling in the Thompson Divide?

The City of Aspen continues to refine a new lodging incentives ordinance. At the same time, the council is asking the city management to give them better information.

The State of Colorado is not messing around when it comes to regulations and medical pot shops.

Could Aspen’s Little Annie’s return from the grave… again?

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a look at the week’s news with various writers and editors in the valley.

This week the Aspen City Council decided on a new plan to increase the number of lodging beds in town. But, is anyone happy with the plan?

It looks like the economy has recovered as there is very little vacancy in the commercial core of Aspen.

Does Pitkin County need bigger bike lanes? We might just get them.

A local service man, Captain William H. DuBois is being remembered.

Glenwood Springs wants to get tough on unlocked trash.

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition.

Aspen City Council decides to take up lodging incentives again-- but much more cautiously.

Garfield County Commissioners suggest alternate routes for energy companies to reach leases on the contested Thompson Divide.

And the Glenwood Springs Police Department aims to crack down on people who don’t lock up their trash from bears.

The USA Pro Challenge announces Aspen will be included again in its route for 2015, only this time it won’t be the start.

Your Evening News - November 25th, 2014

Nov 25, 2014

Aspen’s “Free Parking” Ends Wednesday Morning

Free Parking ends tomorrow in Aspen. After putting in new meters over the past week… parking rates go back in effect at ten tomorrow morning. The new meters follows a parking scam with pre-paid debit cards that bilked the city out of several hundred thousand dollars over the past few years. 81 new meters were in place as of Monday. Meanwhile, the Aspen Times reports that the City Manager’s office will search for a new parking director after the first of the year as Parking Department employee Blake Fitch continues as interim director.

Valley Roundup - October 31st, 2014

Oct 31, 2014

Welcome to Valley Roundup, a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

This week - getting citizens behind urban planning.  In Basalt, angry pro-development residents hammer town council.

In Aspen, the city tries citizen surveys to move on a lodging incentive package.

There is a big drug bust mid-valley with more arrest to come.  And for the now legal drug, more marijuana grow operations approved in Missouri Heights.

Also this week Sam Wyly says he is bankrupt.

And on the Download with Rob St. Mary, a look at online election information.

Loopnet.com

This week, the city of Aspen is going toe to toe with a developer and townhouse owners, over access to a building downtown. The City requires builders to make sure they provide access for affordable housing tenants and people with disabilities. Now, town attorneys are arguing in court the developer JW Ventures and two of their condo owners failed those mandates…. by letting the condo owners keep everyone else from using the main entrance.

Valley Roundup - August 29th, 2014

Aug 29, 2014

Welcome to Valley Roundup a review of the top news stories in the valley in the past week.

This week  - Aspen City Council dumps its much despised lodging incentive ordinance that would allow giant hotels and cut affordable housing. 

Glenwood residents get ready to vent about the Grand Avenue Bridge

Also this week, the tortoises head for a warmer spot as the Aspen Art Museum gets worldwide publicity

And, on the download, computer devices edge out clothes as must haves for students this year.

Elise Thatcher

Aspen Brewing Company was not too loud last summer. Yesterday six jurors found the micro brewery not guilty of breaking Aspen’s noise ordinance.  The decision comes amid ongoing friction between businesses on Restaurant Row and the owners of two penthouses right in the core. 

“How many of you go to bars in the downtown core?” 

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