A disappearing town | AspenTimes.com

A disappearing town

Dear Editor:For some reason, it seems developers can do no wrong in this town. Let’s see if we can figure out why.Normally, developers actually come in knowing what the city wants – described heights and setbacks and appropriate architecture. So they come in asking to build boxes 201 feet higher than allowed, expecting to settle somewhere in between.In Aspen, our first line of defense, Planning and Zoning, actually recommends they initially be approved by council. So our first line of defense has failed. Then council, for some strange reason, actually considers these as viable applications.A case in point are the 17 free-market units tied to the Limelite project. We need the Limelite to be approved, that’s not the issue here. The issue is why they might approve 17 free-market units in an area not zoned for them and give height variances which don’t make sense.At the latest hearing a P&Z representative suggested that we hurry this process up so the poor Denver developer won’t incur any additional expenses. A council member similarly suggested additional costs could occur with more delays.Let’s look at the numbers: 17 units x 52 weeks = 884 timeshares. Looks to me like somebody stands to make a minimum of $30 million.The reason the developer never made an appearance before is because I’m sure he felt like laughing to see we are letting our town disappear. Timeshares are not rental lodge units. The Italian-Swiss rococo piece of crap at the base of Aspen Mountain does not provide rental beds.As we go timeshare we lose the important demographic mix that made this town so special. Last week we lost the Boomerang and L’Auberge. At this rate we will no longer have a need for central reservations – there will be nothing left to rent.We desperately need somehow to convince the city government that Aspen is a place where real people live. I think Torre is trying, and the good judge seems to be asking questions that have never been asked before, so there might be hope.Leslie HolstAspen

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