A sincere thanks for the hard work | AspenTimes.com

A sincere thanks for the hard work

The citizen members of the Lift One COWOP deserve a sincere thanks and community respect for the hard work they did on creating a Lift One conceptual plan for redevelopment.

I do not agree with those who have characterized the COWOP as self-interested or narrowly parochial in their review and recommendations. While all of us have personal interests in public policy outcome and bring to the discussion our own set of biases and beliefs, I believe we are capable of setting those aside in the public interest.

The COWOP members were asked to consider the broader interests of the community in making their recommendations for the redevelopment of the area. Whether one agrees with, or can’t abide by, the final resulting recommendation, I do not think the recommendation presented to the council was made in self-interest or was the product of undue influence by the land owners in the area.

My only reservation about the process is that the COWOP members were not given the time or resources to evaluate some crucial aspects of the concept, such as the ramifications of adding commercial parking, transportation issues and the mass and scale of the project. The COWOP proved quite adept at reaching compromises on a host of other conflicts and might well have crafted solutions to some of the objections raised at the public hearings.

It is City Council’s duty to both listen with respect to citizen recommendation and exercise independent judgment with respect to the impacts of those recommendations on the community as a whole. Council cannot delegate its decision-making role to volunteer boards, no matter how talented or sincere the board members may be. That the council did not support the ordinance proposed for the implementation of the COWOP’s concept is not a reflection on the integrity, creativity or hard work of the COWOP.

Mick Ireland

Aspen mayor

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