Aspen City Council discussion on Lumberyard cut short due to internet outage | News

Aspen City Council’s work session on the Lumberyard project was cut short Monday evening when City Hall lost internet and officials received reports of power outages around town.

Despite the abridged presentation, developers returned to council with a 75% complete schematic design update and asked council members to choose one of two schemes to focus on for the complete design, which will be presented to the council on May 2. One option allows for a little bit more “elbow room” by reducing the unit count and increasing the quality of life on-site, according to staff’s presentation. 

On Feb. 14, council members asked to see more work to improve the visibility of the buildings, which Mayor Torre said looked too tall. Council also asked for improved livability and asked for the design team to make a recommendation, which Project Manager Laura Dougherty said the team has been working very hard on. 

“To be completely frank, there’s a lot of moving parts — and of course they’re really intertwined,” she said. “Our parameters are no longer fixed, so we’re challenging them.”

The buildings are now all planned to be 100% four-story, with elevator access to 100% of the units, according to the presentation. The main plan also includes an improved bike trail, a pedestrian-only walking area and 10% more bedrooms, bringing the total bedroom count to 492 for 310 units. 

To further improve the livability of the project, developers added a three-way trail split to give bikers and pedestrians more options. There will also be several bus stops located throughout the complex, with stops at each of the three buildings, and a day care facility. There will also be newly planted trees and lots of open green space for dog walkers to enjoy. Gyles Thornely, a consultant working with the design team, said that he anticipates seeing pets — especially emotional support animals — as part of the Lumberyard community. 

“Any commuter should be quite delighted with the array of trail options to come either through or around the Lumberyard to get from A to B,” Thornely said. “There should be some good run-around spaces here for whatever kind of animal you have.”

The “elbow room” plan would reduce the unit count by 15% and reduce the amount of parking, but leave more room for storage, green space, potential common spaces on rooftops, and some fourth-floor units with partial three-story structures. 

Due to internet outages Monday evening, council was unable to hear the details of the “elbow room” plan, but the Lumberyard team will hopefully return to council on April 4 to finish the presentation. However, council members said they liked what they have seen so far and are looking forward to hearing the rest. 

“For me, it’s all about livability,” Councilwoman Rachel Richards said. “I want people to be moved in and happy to be there.”

Councilman Skippy Mesirow said he’d like to see some car-free units, but also liked the current direction of things. 

Council will meet again tonight at 5 p.m. for a regular meeting at City Hall, and members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments at the beginning of the meeting. 

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