2019 Election Ballot Issue
City of Aspen Ballot Question for Lift One Corridor:
Shall the City of Aspen approve Ordinance No. 39, Series of 2016, Ordinance No. 38, Series of 2018, the rezoning of a portion of Aspen Skiing Company owned land from Conservation (C) zone district to the Lodge (L) zone district and the exchange, encumbrance, use or conveyance of parts of properties commonly known as Willoughby Park and Lift One Park and other adjacent City property, for use in the development and improvement of a newly configured and constructed ski lift, the reconfiguration of the privately owned lots to be developed in accordance with such Ordinance No. 38, Series of 2018, and the use of parts of City property (including a building to be relocated to City property) by Aspen Skiing Company and the Aspen Historical Society for ski way, ski operations, ski services, ski patrol and a ski museum, all of which approvals would combine to authorize development of two projects commonly known as the Gorsuch Haus project and the Lift One Lodge project, which projects include the proposed replacement and relocation of the Lift 1A ski lift and associated ski operations at the base of Aspen Mountain, the development of a skiway and associated ski operations, infrastructure and facilities along the new lift corridor, and other development along the new lift corridor to include lodge units, timeshare lodge units, free-market residential units, affordable housing units, and commercial net leasable area, a relocated lodge building to be used as a ski museum and skier services and ski patrol uses, a relocated restaurant building for commercial use, and parking facilities and the contribution by the City of Aspen of a fixed amount of $4,360,000 in support of the public facing elements of the project, including improvements to Dean Street and the relocation and rehabilitation of the Skiers’ Chalet Lodge?
YES _____ NO _____
- Lift One Corridor Fact Sheet
- Question and Answer
- Pro Statements From Voters
- Con Statements From Voters
Fact Sheet – Lift One Corridor
On January 7, 2019, the Aspen City Council passed Resolution No. 2, Series of 2019 by a 3-2 vote. This resolution has the effect of referring two ordinances to City of Aspen voters for consideration in the March 5th general election. The two ordinances, Ordinance No. 38, Series of 2018 (Lift One Lodge) and Ordinance No. 39, Series of 2016 (Gorsuch Haus) are being considered together under a single ballot question. A “yes” vote will grant approval to the Lift One Lodge and Gorsuch Haus lodge projects and the other related aspects of the Lift One Corridor project, including a lower lift location, ski corridor, and parks improvements. A “no” vote will deny both ordinances and the Lift One Corridor project will not progress as currently proposed.
Important elements of the project as referred to voters:
Willoughby and Lift One Parks
Lift One Lodge
- Two (2) buildings with a total gross floor area of approximately 203,000 square feet
- A maximum height of 53.3 feet (west building) and 47.5 feet (east building)
- 34 time share lodge units, with 104 timeshare lodge keys (each key is a rentable room).
- Six (6) free-market residential units
- One (1) employee housing unit
- Relocated and restored Skiers’ Chalet Steakhouse, proposed as a restaurant/bar
- Additional commercial space within the Lift One Lodge west building
- A cul-de-sac that establishes a terminus of Gilbert Street
- Provision of Affordable Housing mitigation pursuant to the current Land Use Code
- *Estimated at a total of 45.62 FTE (full-time equivalent), Category 4
- A lodge building with a total gross floor area of approximately 121,000 square feet
- A maximum height of 40 feet
- 81 lodge keys
- Four (4) free-market residential units
- One (1) employee housing unit
- Commercial space within the lodge building
- 56 parking spaces in a sub-grade parking garage
- A new cul-de-sac creating a terminus at the top of South Aspen Street
- Existing Lift 1A and related skier services and ski patrol facilities are relocated downhill to new location in Willoughby Park
- Continued maintenance road access for Aspen Skiing Company
- A preserved skier-return from the Norway ski run
- Provision of Affordable Housing mitigation pursuant to the Land Use Code
- *Estimated at a total of 21.68 FTE (full-time equivalent), Category 4
Technical aspects of what these ordinances would approve:
- Lot reconfiguration (Subdivision) and Rezoning for both Lift One Lodge and Gorsuch Haus projects
- Exchange of property between the City of Aspen and Lift One Lodge
- Approval of uses (commercial and ski museum) on a city park
- Vacation of city rights-of-way (a portion of S. Aspen and Gilbert Streets)
- Easements across city parks for sub-grade parking and ski corridor
- A prohibition on new residential development on vacant Gorsuch Haus Lot 2, unless approved by a future vote
- A plan for evaluating and implementing winter maintenance strategies (including snowmelt) for S. Aspen Street
Financial contribution from the City of Aspen
- Approval of the ordinances would commit the City of Aspen to contribute $4,360,000 to the project to be paid to Lift One Lodge at the point that the new ski lift in Willoughby Park is in working condition.
- These funds, while not specifically dedicated to these purposes, are related to costs associated with the re-design of Dean Street, and the relocation and restoration of the Skiers’ Chalet Lodge. Lift One Lodge is required to complete these aspects of the project. The City’s contribution reflects a commitment to these public facing aspects of the project.
- To comply with Colorado’s TABOR requirements, the committed contribution from the City must be appropriated in 2019 and held in an interest-bearing escrow account until the new lift is complete and working and the contribution is paid, or the vesting period for the project expires.
For further information on the Lift One Corridor Project, please contact:
City of Aspen Community Development Department – 970.920.5090
Ben Anderson, Planner II – Lift One Lodge and City Parks; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Kraemer, Senior Planner – Gorsuch Haus; email@example.com
Question and Answer
The following topics were identified during the discussions with City Council and in the coverage of project in the press.
1) Does the approval require snowmelt on any City street?
No. Winter maintenance has long been a concern on S. Aspen Street due to steep grades. The ordinances for the lodge projects recognize this concern and establish a defined process to further evaluate any increase to traffic counts, alternative maintenance strategies, and ultimately any safety concerns. At the end of this process, if a snowmelt system is found to be the only solution that can create a safer S. Aspen Street, the Ordinances outline that both Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge would each contribute 1/3 of the costs to install, operate, and maintain a snow melt system.
2) What are the details of affordable housing mitigation for the two lodge projects?
Lift One Lodge, based on the conceptual design, is required to provide 45.62 FTE, Category 4 mitigation based on their calculated employee generation. Parallel to this, Gorsuch Haus’ mitigation is calculated at 21.68 FTE, Category 4. Both calculations are pursuant to the Land Use Code. Lift One Lodge and Gorsuch Haus do utilize provisions that were established to incentivize lodge development by reducing mitigation requirements. But in doing so, both projects will be subject to audits (2 years after completion) that will calculate actual employee generation and require possible additional mitigation in response. The new skier services and ski patrol facility operated by Aspen Skiing Company is considered “commercial net leasable” area and will provide mitigation as required under the Land Use Code. The ski museum, operated by the Aspen Historical Society, is designated as an “Essential Public Facility” and any new employee generation will be evaluated through a future audit process with City Council.
3) When will a new lift be operational?
If the Lift One Corridor Project is approved by voters, both the Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge Projects will be required to go through a final land use review process. Both projects will have a review by the Planning and Zoning Commission, and Lift One Lodge will have an additional review with the Historic Preservation Commission due to the historically designated aspects of the project (Skiers Chalet Steakhouse, Skiers Chalet Lodge, and the original Lift 1. Once these reviews are final, the projects can file final approval documents and apply for a building permit. The issuance of building permits from the point of voter approval could require several years. Once building permits are issued for both projects, the construction phasing will ultimately determine when a new lift is operational, and importantly, when the existing Lift 1A is decommissioned to allow for the construction of Gorsuch Haus. In language from the ordinances, Aspen Skiing Company, within a future construction sequencing plan will commit to “install the new lift, including the Future Lift Terminal and towers no later than as promptly as it reasonably and safely is able following completion of the garage, subgrade structures and foundation, vertical construction and enclosing of the Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge buildings.” In a best-case scenario, there would be no lift service on the west side of Aspen Mountain for one, full ski season.
4) What are the heights proposed for the new lodge buildings?
Gorsuch Haus is proposed at a maximum height of 4o feet. Lift One Lodge’s west building is proposed at a maximum height of 53.3 feet; and the east building at 47.5 feet. The Gorsuch Haus maximum height is consistent with the limitations in the Lodge (L) zone district. Lift One Lodge’s heights were established by their original Planned Development approvals from 2011 and are retained in this proposal. Calculating heights is a complex process, particularly on sloping grades. Both projects are required to measure heights consistent with the City of Aspen Land Use Code, although Lift One Lodge received previous approval to use interpolated grade (historic grade) from which to measure height.
5) Why is Dean Street proposed to change to one-way, from west to east?
Dean Street is a relatively narrow street. With the increased activity in the area that will result from the new lift location, a street design that allows for safe, multimodal access is the priority. A one-way design allows for an ample vehicle travel lane, a drop-off lane, and improved bicycle and pedestrian amenities. Additionally, the one-way design creates a predictable and efficient traffic pattern that includes the access driveway for the sub-grade garage.
6) Why aren’t the various aspects of the project being approved (or denied) separately?
While the Lift One Corridor project includes four different property owners, multiple stakeholder interests, and two different ordinances, it was clear early on to the development team and the city that the individual elements of the project are inextricably linked and fully interdependent. To paraphrase a statement that was made during one of the City Council hearings on the project, “This thing is a little like a tapestry. If you start to pull on one thread, the whole thing may unravel.” The single ballot question is in part a response to this condition and voters are asked to consider the project as a unified whole.
7) What happens if the public vote does not pass?
If the single ballot measure does not pass with a majority of Aspen voters, the ordinances as proposed are denied and the project as proposed does not proceed. What happens to the individual developments and this west portal to Aspen Mountain should the project be denied is uncertain. Lift One Lodge has existing approvals with a vesting period through November of 2021 that would not allow a lift terminal to relocate to Dean Street but does include other aspects of the project that voters are considering, including relocation of the Skiers Chalet buildings, and a lodge development of the same height. Gorsuch Haus is dependent on the subdivision and rezoning within this ballot issue. If the ballot question is defeated, and Lift One Lodge does not proceed with their existing approvals, the properties contained within the corridor, including City parks will revert to underlying zoning.