Redstone Castle owners want zoning change
The Aspen Times
The new owners of the Redstone Castle want Pitkin County’s permission to hold more than 50 “major” events and an unlimited number of smaller gatherings per year at the historic property.
The handful of neighbors who live along the one-lane dirt road leading to the Castle, however, believe that is asking way too much for the quiet, rural Redstone area.
“I’ve mended the curtains and scrubbed the wooden floors [at the Redstone Castle],” said Deb McCormick, who along with her husband, Bob, has lived in the mansion’s former gatehouse for 42 years. “Bob and I were married in the mansion in 1979.
“We have love for the mansion. We want to see it continue, but at a reasonable level. And 350 cars a day is not reasonable.”
Steve and April Carver, owners of the Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs, bought the historic mansion at auction in November for $2.2 million. The 23,000 square-foot, 42-room English Tudor-style main residence was built in 1899 for coal and steel magnate John Cleveland Osgood. The estate was completed in 1903.
The Carvers are the property’s 11th owners in its 114-year history.
The Carvers want to be allowed to rent out the facility for weddings and other events, though they are not planning to open the Castle to overnight guests. However, county zoning laws that govern the Castle property state that it cannot host more than three events per year.
Hosting more events than that requires an amendment to the zoning laws.
Wednesday, Pitkin County commissioners paid a visit to the Castle to hear the Carvers’ plans and see what they want to do in person before considering their application during a public hearing Aug. 23.
Standing in the Castle’s courtyard Wednesday, Steve Carver told commissioners, county staff members and area residents that he wants to be able to hold two events a week with between 40 and 150 people for the period between May 1 and Nov. 1. The events — weddings were the main example cited — would take place in the Castle’s courtyard, an outdoor area between the Castle and the Carriage House and inside the Carriage House, he said.
“Our vision is not to hold events inside the Castle,” Steve Carver said. “We’re concerned about people staying here.”
Those concerns, he said, include protecting the ornate nature of the decoration and furnishings, he said. Each room of the home was decorated in the tradition of a particular country, including a Russian dining room with red velvet walls and wallpaper made of elephant hide in the Persian-themed library. Rooms have not been available for rent since 2002.
Mike Kraemer, a county planner, said the major event schedule would work out to 52 events per year. In addition, the Carvers want permission for “minor” events with 39 people or less, though the couple has not specified how many times a year that will occur, he said.
Commissioners were not allowed to comment on the merits of the application Wednesday, though they asked questions about parking, access and other issues related to the proposed plans.
The McCormicks own one of the four homes along the dirt road between the Redstone Inn and the Redstone Castle. They said they are concerned about a constant stream of cars heading up and down the road until late at night, as well as the impacts on them and the area wildlife the traffic will have.
“This is a county lane,” Deb McCormick said. “[The Carvers’ plan] is not sustainable.”
Fred Weitz, who has lived along the road to the Castle for more than 30 years, seconded that statement.
“We just think the Carvers have gone overboard in what they’ve asked for,” he said.