Big money, big hotel | AspenTimes.com

Big money, big hotel

Follow the money: daily full-page ads, paid Facebook prominence, people hoping for favor praising so-called benefits to the community and a several hundred-thousand dollar community outreach lobbying budget. All create the impression of massive support. Well, maybe.

If Aspen City Council doesn't reject the Gorsuch Haus application soon enough, I have little doubt we will see opposing petitioners on the streets. Either council listens to the people and not developers or we have to resort to:

A. Another awkward referendum at the polls to get the civic will.

B. The upcoming May election to replace the council and mayor. Most of Gorsuch Haus's drawbacks have been covered, so we don't need to repeat them.

Three items need evocation:

1. What would it take to get the new lift nearer Durant? How about active council cooperation and conferring with the Dolinseks and the Browns' development team to modify their plan? This council approved much of what is now blocking the civic will of a longer lift. It can be renegotiated.

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2. The Dolinseks are big, big benefactors and we are grateful. Council can approach them over the terms of their gift to the city parks, hopefully resulting in a modification allowing easements for a ski-exit corridor and lift access from the bottom of the hill.

3. As to pleasing the World Cup by cleaning up 1A and its approaches, who owns the upper land? Who controls the shabby parking lots and rubbished areas? Aspen Skiing Co. does, and they created the mess. They want to sell their property above the lift. Given existing construction permits, 1A will be a mess and lost to the public for five years at least. Plus we are told that the free Aspen Street parking, the only free parking for Aspen mountain, will shut down to benefit the new hotels.

Whose town is it? Bring the lift down to Durant. No to Gorsuch Haus. No to changing the conservation zoning. We don't need more than the three other, unbuilt, already approved, giant luxury developments on upper Aspen Street.

Michael Behrendt

Aspen