aspen extreme house

The "Aspen Extreme House" at 135 W. Francis St. in Aspen, above, was featured in a 1993 film and is slated for development. 

Aspen City Council did not support a notice of call-up at their Tuesday regular meeting which proposed development at 135 W. Francis St., the Aspen property known as the “Aspen Extreme House.” 

By not calling-up the project, council effectively upheld the Historic Preservation Commission's previous approval. However, council did express some concerns related to the development plans.

“My perspective is this doesn’t feel good. I see this type of development as detrimental to so many facets of Aspen,” Mayor Torre said. “It doesn't seem like this is consistent with the neighborhood and growth that we want to see, and it seems like it’s not in the best interest of our community.”

The Historic Preservation Commission voted 4-0 on Sept. 22 to approve the project, which would restore the historic home and remove all non-historic alterations and additions, according to a memo from Community Development Director Phillip Supino. 

The HPC reviewed three separate design iterations of the project before it was finally approved with conditions, according to the memo. Approval was granted to excavate a basement addition and construct a new addition to the rear of the property, which meets the design guidelines and successfully maintains the historic home’s prominence on the lot, the memo says. The application also includes a request for a rear yard setback variation, which is directly associated with keeping the historic landmark in its original location. 

As a corner lot, maintaining this contextual relationship was considered an important character defining feature that needed to be preserved, the memo says. A 60-square-foot floor area bonus and setback variations were granted to the proposed design.

Councilmembers were concerned about the setback in the rear of the property and said it would not leave enough room for snow to be plowed in the winters. 

“Those owners are going to find their garage door plowed shut regularly in the morning and frozen shut and that just doesn’t seem right,” Councilmember Rachel Richards said. “They’re going to call the city and say, ‘Your plow damaged my door.’ I think there should be some sort of disclaimer on your final approval that the snow plow in the alley will go on as normal and the city is not responsible for damage to any property in that area.” 

Councilmember Ward Hauenstein agreed and asked if the property is currently occupied. There are currently two units on the property and the project would convert it into a single-family home. HPC Planner Sarah Yoon said the First Street side of the property is currently unoccupied. 

Councilmember Skippy Mesirow gave a nod to the property’s historical significance, including being featured in the 1993 film “Aspen Extreme,” where T.J. sits in a tree swing while courting local radio DJ Robin.

Yoon said that council’s comments will be included in the HPC's final review of the project application.