After two years, the commercial freeze is lifted. Keith Goode, owner of Parallel 15, a new coffee shop on Aspen’s Hyman Avenue, was ordered by the city this week to shut down his business because he was operating a restaurant, not a retail store. Goode’s days were numbered since he did not have a building permit to paint the walls, because of a city law passed nearly two years ago.
By Carolyn Sackariason, Dec 10, 2008, Aspen Times Aspen, CO Colorado,

“The building department hated doing this; they thought it was so dumb,” Goode said Tuesday.

They said as much, perhaps not as bluntly, to the Aspen City Council on Monday. City Community Development Director Chris Bendon recommended the council lift the moratorium, which had been in place for two years and had effectively handcuffed small-business owners from doing simple remodels or expansions.

Changing an existing use of a commercial property was banned by the moratorium, which prohibited issuing building permits on any new construction downtown.

“I couldn’t do it with a straight face,” Bendon told the council about how he explained why Goode couldn’t set up a coffee shop. “It’s tougher and tougher for my staff to explain why there is a moratorium.”

The council voted 4-1 in favor of lifting the ban, with City Councilman Jack Johnson casting the sole vote against the move.

“If they hadn’t lifted that moratorium, I would be in a tight spot,” Goode said. “I would have had to stop selling coffee and start selling socks.”

Link to full article

Also, see my 12/20/08 blog entry on Downtown Aspen Commercial