Parts 1 and 2 of the multi-part mayor Q&A can be found here:

Part 1

Part 2

Ann Mullins

Ann Mullins

Ann Mullins

Do you support the Lift One corridor land use proposal? Why or why not?

We are a ski town and the Lift One corridor project will complete Aspen’s ski corridor at the base of the mountain from the gondola to Lift 1. It will bring two iconic buildings to the street to bookend the restored Lift 1. It creates a new public park for summer and winter use. Ruthie’s restaurant will again be a destination on the west side of the mountain. The partnership between the city of Aspen, the Aspen Skiing Co., the Dolinsek family, Aspen Historical Society and the developers produced a project which will have long-term benefits for the city. If this partnership had not occurred we would have projects that would have put Lift 1A higher up the mountain, privatized within a hotel development; allowed private development on land at the base of Aspen Mountain; and no public skiing access or improved park at the lower end of Aspen Street. We have also replaced many of the lodge rooms we have lost, but with a generous mix of incentives. We now need to re-evaluate our Lodge Incentive Program to ensure it is accomplishing what we want and uses the incentives appropriate and acceptable for that goal.

What is a development in the city of Aspen you consider to be well done that has occurred in the last 20 years and why?

One of the best is the White House Tavern. I was chair of HPC when this project was approved. It is a laudable restoration of the historic white house, a modern addition which blends in well with the commercial core, has appropriate scale, size and mass and creates an energetic commercial space at one of our busiest street corners.

What is the biggest development or land use mistake in the last 20 years in the city and why?

Worst: The infill ordinance that allowed 40-foot buildings in the downtown core and free market residential penthouse units. The damage this ordinance did will not be repaired for many years. As mayor, this would be another primary agenda item: How do we get something in those empty storefronts, how do we get vitality back on the street?

 

Torre

Torre

Torre

Do you support the Lift One corridor land use proposal? Why or why not?

I do not support the Lift One corridor land use proposal. It is clear that city council got out-negotiated, giving the developers everything they wanted, which allowed three individual council members to put a half-baked, unfair ballot question to Aspen voters this March.

I do support some development on the Lift One side. I know there is an opportunity for a great community enhancing project, but we are getting an ultimatum instead of a choice.

There are a few components that are fundamentally opposing to Aspen core values. I cannot support changing the conservation zoning to allow a luxury fractional and free market development higher up the mountain. I cannot support the minimal housing mitigation that is part of the ballot question. The lack of housing in these projects will add to our already difficult housing and traffic problems. I do not support the city making a $4.36 million dollar cash payment to the developers and accepting ongoing snowmelt and road maintenance costs. There are just too many concessions that have long-term impacts and consequences to approve this in its current iteration.

What is a development in the city of Aspen you consider to be well done that has occurred in the last 20 years and why?

In the last 20 years, we have had successes and failures in all aspects of land use code revision and development. I think a recent example of thoughtful planning and well executed building is the new county offices on Main Street. It makes good use of the existing annex building, fits in the county campus well and respects the Veterans Memorial Park that sits in front. I will work to continue this ethic and effort into the new city office project. The voters that support the city still expect efficiency and foresight in our planning.

What is the biggest development or land use mistake in the last 20 years in the city and why?

The biggest land use mistake(s) in the last 20 years was the “infill” land use code initiatives and changes. When I was elected to Aspen City Council in 2003, infill initiatives to upzone Aspen core building envelopes were already in the works. It meant more density downtown but not necessarily community and sustainable  development. I worked to reduce those height allowances in the “infill" revisions. I have been an active participant in Aspen's land use code development and continue to see the failings of the last approvals. We still have a restrictive code that doesn't manifest the desired outcomes. We have gone through a few iterations of land use code revisions in the last 20 years. I have appreciated council's continued land use code revisions to limit downtown development heights. But, we still have not enabled and enforced affordable housing and affordable commercial inclusionary codes.

 

Adam Frisch

Adam Frisch

Adam Frisch

Do you support the Lift One corridor land use proposal? Why or why not?

Yes. I believe the reactivation of the Lift 1A corridor is vital to our community. This project presents a unique opportunity that requires us to be creative in our compromises. No one is getting everything they want, but overall the community wins.

Throughout this long process, the lift location has remained my focus; the lower the better. I believe a thoughtful development on the west side of the mountain is critical, a one-time opportunity that the community needs to get right. At the start, the applicants wanted to have a development conversation about individual projects, including retaining the current lift location. I felt the vast majority of the community wanted to have a lift location discussion. By asking the Gorsuch Haus to put its initial design on hold, I was able to steer the focus for all of us to a better lift location for everyone. We should be thankful to both lodging applicants, the Aspen Skiing Co., and the city of Aspen staff’s work with SE Group (the site planning consultants) to bring the lift down to where even a year ago, many thought was not possible.

Two council members wanted to decrease the initial development fees upfront; I believed holding the developers accountable to meet certain milestones, and to incentivize them to meet those milestones was a better path. I persuaded the two council members of the latter and was the tiebreaking vote to send the Lift One corridor project to the voters. The agreement on our ballots only rebates a partial amount of the total fees, and only rebates these fees when the new ski lift is ready to spin, and the Skier’s Chalet building is refurbished. I believe this compromise is in the best interest of the community and provides additional incentives to complete this project, especially the lift, in a timely fashion.

What is a development in the city of Aspen you consider to be well done that has occurred in the last 20 years and why?

As to a commercial project in the core, White House Tavern. The historic structure on the corner has been beautifully refurbished and activated (from office use). Inside is a wonderful restaurant that is busy all the time with a mix of visitors and locals. The business employs several locals, adds to the community’s tax base and enhances the diversity to Aspen’s thriving restaurant scene. The small brick addition in the back fits in nicely to our small-town, historic downtown core. A true winner across the board in my humble opinion. Hats off to the Historic Preservation Commission, the city’s historic preservation staff … and the chef and staff of White House Tavern.

What is the biggest development or land use mistake in the last 20 years in the city and why?

Our biggest mistake over the last 20 years has been reacting to economic cycles with land use code changes. Aspen needs a land use code based on our community values, not our current economic times.  Aspen’s values have been consistent for generations; our local and national economy gyrate every 5-10 years. During boom times, the community slams on the brakes; during economic down turns, the community expands development rights. If we could focus on our core values and have the confidence to not be concerned with short-term economic swings, we would save a lot of community angst.

The desire for a balanced and thoughtful land use code led me to initiate the 2016 downzoning moratorium by reaching out to the mayor, city attorney and director of community development in November of 2015. I expressed my reasons for a moratorium, what I hoped for the outcomes, and an overall plan to implement. I then reached out to my fellow council members to make sure they understood the process and my top-level goals prior to enacting the moratorium on March 14 of 2016 at the council table. Process was important, as I did not want to unleash a flood of land use applications as was done in 2012, the last time these discussions were initiated. City staff, with significant outreach to the community, spent a year working with a variety of stakeholders, and did a wonderful job in processing the needed changes to have the land use code better represent the values of the Aspen Area Community Plan. In March 2017, the moratorium was lifted. I believe this willingness to pause and reflect to discuss how to match the AACP with the land use code has resulted in a better environment for businesses and a downtown more matched to our values.

 

Cale Mitchell

Cale Mitchell

Cale Mitchell

Do you support the Lift One corridor land use proposal? Why or why not?

I support this project and see it as another area where the town governance can help to create something uniquely Aspen, fully benefiting this community in so many regards: be it employee housing, community retail space, or a historic communal gathering point, this project must shine. The sense of development in this town is always shadowed with doubt; I want to see the support needed to make this project Aspen’s project. Let’s create a ski museum that shows our ski heritage, our passions, what makes Aspen, Aspen; a lodge that brings people to Aspen to celebrate skiing; see the World Cup returning, something once an Aspen icon. I want to be riding up Lift One, on an amazing powder day, thinking to myself, “I live in Aspen, Colo., the best ski town in the whole world.”

What is a development in the city of Aspen you consider to be well done that has occurred in the last 20 years and why?

Truscott is a development that was successful. It provided the one and only resource we now need in Aspen: affordable employee housing. I believe one of the quickest ways to improve the community of Aspen is by providing workers a place they can live.

What is the biggest development or land use mistake in the last 20 years in the city and why?

The Aspen Art Museum is the biggest development mistake that we all stare at every day. Basketweave? Still hard to see it as anything other. The lack of community outreach in the planning process was the biggest failure. I would have supported this development if it didn’t leave the visional imprint it does. Growing up here, the old one still has my heart, and I still find myself running by both locations, upset about the new, sad about the old. Under the terms in which it began, I saw no reason for this project to even start.