Aspen officials focused on quality of life in dense Lumberyard housing project

Aspen city council members spent two hours on Monday researching how to make the next municipal government workforce housing project livable while accommodating more than 300 people and more than 400 cars.

The 310 units and 423 parking spaces previously agreed by council as part of the conceptual design are all to fit on a 10.5-acre site known as Lumberyard at Aspen Business Center.

The design team presented to the board during Monday’s working session aboveground parking options, as previous guidelines from elected officials were strong opposition to underground structures due to cost and other concerns.

Council members considered two of the four parking options presented to them, but with modifications.

The project team will incorporate board member feedback into the revised plans before going to the public this fall for community outreach, which will be the fourth round of such an activity on Project Lumberyard.

Community awareness will run until December 20, the results of which are expected to be presented to the board at a working session on January 10.

According to Chris Everson, director of the city’s affordable housing project, the council’s concern with 100% underground parking is a fundamental main site planning issue that must be addressed before continuing with the schematic design process.

Cushing Terrell, a Denver-based architectural design firm that is part of the team, worked on alternatives to underground parking with buildings as small as four stories tall.

The four parking alternatives all include the same amount of space and parking for a daycare center, but they have varying amounts of usable outdoor space and the layout of the buildings is different.

Most council members favored two options, but with modifications.

The “Hinge” layout has 263 underground spaces, 78 in carports and 91 uncovered. This plan is estimated at nearly $ 22.6 million in today’s dollars.

The “Bride” plan does not have underground parking, and has 201 carport areas and 231 uncovered. This plan is estimated at $ 7.3 million in today’s dollars.

These costs exceed the estimated $ 330 million it will take to build the housing units on the city-owned land, which is expected to begin construction in 2024.

Council members stated that the values ​​that are important in the design of the project are green spaces, accessibility, sunlight in apartments or condos, environmental and sustainable practices and open spaces between buildings.

Council members Rachel Richards, Ward Hauenstein and John Doyle said they would be open to parking structures facing Highway 82 and surrounding the subdivision towards the rear of the site, adjoining Deer Hill.

“I would place a higher value on the people who live here, their quality of life and their green spaces than on the people who are going on Highway 82 and looking at a parking structure,” Hauenstein said. “I think we can put lipstick on the pig, maybe cover it up, but really the depth of that for me is the quality of life that people are going to experience here.”

Everson said the results of a recent study of available housing in the Roaring Fork Valley suggest the crisis is even more aggravated than officials believed.

This is why Lumberyard is now being considered for low-income households, particularly categories one and two in the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority guidelines, where individuals typically earn between $ 30,000 and $ 60,000 per year. .

“One of the main things that we are starting to find is that there is not only a shortage of low income housing, there is actually a decrease in the number of households in the valley with low income, which is different than what we thought we had before, “said Everson.” But we are also seeing on the job growth side that jobs in Pitkin County are also increasing in the lower incomes… I think it’s not It’s no surprise to us, it’s just a little worse than we even thought. “

[email protected]

About Justin Howze

Check Also

Belleville’s SilverLake has plenty of green space – by design

When SilverLake Apartments opened in Belleville last March, the 232-unit community was already 87% rented, …