Redstone Castle’s new owners fight to get more events at historic site
The Aspen Times
Redstone Castle is one step closer to operating as a special-events venue after the Pitkin County commissioners on first reading at a meeting Wednesday accepted the creation of a new zoning district where the historic property sits.
Also on first reading, the commissioners passed rezoning the castle to the newly proposed zone district, called Village Lodge Preservation.
County commissioners will revisit the Redstone Castle rezoning on second reading at a meeting next month. The elected officials at that time also will continue reviewing and accepting public comment on the castle owners’ master plan for the 115-year-old site.
Steve and April Carver, owners of the Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs, purchased the property for $2.2 million at an auction in November 2016. The couple is seeking permission from the county to allow the castle to hold more events via a rezone of the property. Redstone Castle’s current zoning prohibits more than three events per year.
Between May to October and Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, the Carvers are proposing as many as 35 events with more than 100 attendees, 70 events with 20 to 99 attendees and an unlimited number of events with less than 20 attendees, according to their master plan.
During the aforementioned time periods — when the Carvers propose the site be open to the public — they also intend to offer daily historic tours and use the rooms for commercial lodging. As proposed, hotel lodging within the existing castle would consist of 10 suites, the Carriage House would boast two units and the Hose House would offer one more.
“At some point in the future,” Pitkin County senior planner Mike Kraemer said at the meeting Wednesday, the Carvers also hope to develop four cottages on the Castle Parcel (south of the castle) and four three-bedroom cabins on the Barn Parcel (north of the riding arena).
“We believe that we’re doing the right things for the castle. We’re doing the right things for Redstone. We’re not trying to maximize profits, we’re not trying to harm anyone or anybody,” Steve Carver said at the meeting. “We want the castle to get set up to be sustained indefinitely, and we don’t want anybody that owns it to ever have to go through this process again.”
Carver said, “Any further restrictions on the castle will probably put the ongoing sustainability of (it), economically, in jeopardy.
“It feels like we’re kind of at the breaking point.”
At least 15 Redstone residents and business owners shared their thoughts on the proposal at the tail end of the five-hour discussion Wednesday.
Roughly half of the people spoke highly of the Carvers’ restoration on the castle and fully supported their proposal, in many cases citing an economic gain to the town.
“Historically, the village thrives when the castle thrives,” said Michael Askew, owner of the Redstone Art Gallery, alongside his wife, Stephanie. “We never dreamed we’d get somebody as good” as the Carvers to take over the castle.
Redstone broker Jeff Beir echoed that sentiment, noting the “economic strengths and abilities of the castle to help Redstone.”
Others — most, if not all, of whom are neighbors to the castle — opposed the scale of the Carvers’ proposed events as well as the impacts it will have on them.
Bob and Deb McCormick have lived in the mansion’s former gatehouse for more than 40 years. Deb McCormick said they are “in favor of the castle being open, but absolutely not on the level” as proposed.
She urged the commissioners to preserve Redstone as the “truly wonderful sanctuary” it is.
Another resident who commented Wednesday called the castle’s master plan “way out of the scale with the town of Redstone, to the point of degrading the town.”
The Carvers are the 11th owners in the Redstone Castle’s history.
Originally built in 1899 for coal and steel magnate John Cleveland Osgood, the English Tudor-style Redstone Castle has been host to such guests as John D. Rockefeller, J. Pierpont Morgan and Teddy Roosevelt. The estate was completed in 1903.
The Pitkin County commissioners will revisit the Redstone Castle zoning and master plan at a regular meeting June 13.
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