Friday, January 05, 2007

Citizen Action over the "Gateway" to Telluride

No one is quite sure, yet, how long it has been since the Telluride Historic and Architectural Review Commission has denied an application, certainly not a project as large as the Clark's Market expansion.
But last week HARC did just that, setting the three-year-old project into a tailspin. Exhausted by the conflict of economics and the visual impact of the project, which at points would reach 48 feet in height, the plan for the 20,000 square foot grocery store, plus six new units of deed-restricted employee housing, six new free market condominiums and 24 parking spaces below, most of the members decreed that the project created the wrong kind of architectural statement for the so-called "Gateway" to the Town of Telluride.
While recused HARC Chairman Chance Leoff waited outside the building as the rest of the commission deliberated, the appearance of community support to deny the project based on issues of "mass and scale" made it easy to overcome his main concern: That the remaining board members might succumb to the political pressure from the city fathers, or, the refusal of the project directors to reduce the scope and, especially, square footage, to reduce the impact.
"We are here and the application is not architecturally compliant," HARC Vice Chair Sonchia Jilek told the board and those present at the special meeting to discuss unresolved issues prior to the commission granting a "certificate of appropriateness." "A lot of our guidelines have been overlooked. I cannot approve this project. I don't see why we are continuing this process."