The current miner’s hut at 1020 E Cooper Ave. in Aspen. (Kelsey Brunner / The Aspen Times)

A worker housing project presented for East Cooper Avenue is due to be presented to the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission for a second vote on Wednesday after the board initially rejected the proposal in February.

The Land Use Review for the development of five deed-restricted housing units at 1020 E. Cooper Ave. returns to HPC after Aspen City Council determined on April 19 that Commissioners Roger Moyer and Scott Kendrick rejected the plan due to personal biases against workers. housing rather than commenting on the merits of the project. This was enough for three of the five board members – who got into the question after developers Jim DeFrancia and Jean Coulter appealed the denial – to send the project back to HPC for another review of the use request. lands.

The site includes a historic miner’s hut, which is why the CHP has the final say on the project. The HPC was actually scheduled to hear the proposal again on June 9, but that was postponed until this week after the developers requested that the case be continued due to a recent litigation.

In separate lawsuits filed in May, the Cooper Avenue Victorian Condominium Association Inc. and Save Aspen groups asked the court to either overturn the council’s decision to send the proposal back to HPC or to declare it null and void. The complaints were both brought against the city and the developers under Colorado Rule 106, which allows residents to appeal a government agency’s decision on land use and development claims to the courts. The condominium association’s complaint also wants the court to overturn the council’s decision and reinstate the CHP’s refusal.

While Save Aspen’s complaint was dismissed on June 22, the condominium association’s lawsuit remains in abeyance. And that’s why this week’s hearing should be postponed, condominium lawyer Chris Bryan argued in a letter dated Aug. 17 to Jim True and Josh Marks, internal lawyers and respective external of the city. Until the litigation is over, the land use review should be suspended, he argued.

“If this CHP hearing is not suspended or continued, all parties involved will be caught in a procedural quagmire as the status and outcome of this dispute will affect whether the CHP can even hear the request for pre-trial detention,” said the letter from Bryan. “It is only fair for City staff and HPC members, as well as the plaintiff’s paid professionals and opposing neighbors, to minimize additional costs and charges while the litigation is ongoing. “

Lawyers for the city, however, argued the opposite: until the land use review was completed and the plaintiffs had exhausted all avenues at City Hall to thwart the project, lawsuit no. is not ripe for judicial review. They also ask for the dismissal.

If the hearing goes as planned, Bryan said on Monday he would be there. Project enemies remain opposed to the project over claims that the additions to the property will be nearly three times the size of the existing cabin, and the rear building will overshadow the cabin, making it incompatible with HPC codes. . They also said it’s the merits of the proposal – not the potential occupants of the affordable housing project – that are fueling their opposition.

“So we can say yes to an affordable housing project needed at 1020 E. Cooper, but it has to be smaller for the project to meet important HPC design guidelines that will preserve the historic integrity of the house and grounds.” , wrote her neighbor Patricia Glass in a letter dated August 17 to urban planner Kevin Rayes.

If the CHP acts on the recommendation of Rayes and Planning Director Amy Simon, then the project will pass. Similar to their note to the HPC in June supporting approval of the proposal (before the hearing was postponed), Rayes and Simon again stated in a note ahead of this week’s meeting that the project meets criteria set by the city ​​land use code and historical preservation. guidelines. In addition, the city is in serious need of more housing for the working class of Aspen, they said.

“The units at 1020 E. Cooper are available for rental and will play a central role in providing much needed housing for those traditionally underserved,” the memo reads.

The proposed five-unit project for 1020 E. Cooper Ave. includes the conversion of the old miner’s hut into separate two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as the construction of a structure behind the hut with two two-bedroom apartments and a three-bedroom apartment. The proposal also provides for four covered parking spaces facing the lane.

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