You call this a deal? | AspenTimes.com

You call this a deal?

On March 8, at their regular meeting, Aspen City Council will be asked to approve the removal of some of Main Street’s oldest and most majestic trees, which are in the grassy area on the northwest comer of Main and Galena streets, so that a 40-foot, three-story free-market “major development” housing project can be built.

In turn for the approval, the developer will then RENT, for a million dollars, the street level and the basement to the city for ACRA’s offices and visitor center.

There will be no parking for the free-market tenants. The five parking spots which Aspen’s police and Pitkin County’s sheriff currently use will be vacated for the short-term parking needs of the visitor’s center. (But, no RVs, please.)

The city of Aspen’s COWOP land-use process (which this project went through) was created “for reviewing development proposals that are determined to be reasonably necessary for the convenience and welfare of the public.”

While the visitor’s center is reasonably necessary for the convenience and welfare of the public, I strongly disagree that two floors of free-market housing above the visitor’s center, with zilch employee housing and no parking, is necessary for the convenience and welfare of the public.

If the city feels that there is no better location than Galena and Main for the new visitor center, then the city should buy the piece of property from the developer. The city can then build a visitor center that includes mountain views which supports and maintains the Aspen Area’s Community Plan commitment to preserving Aspen’s natural beauty, the environment, managing Aspen’s growth and transportation, and preserving the open space that is still left on Main Street.

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