A treadmill of questionable procedures
Dear Editor:With regard to the article, “West End Home Highlights Historic Preservation Debate” dated Sept. 18, I was astonished to read Historic Preservation Officer Amy Guthrie’s declaration that “Mr. Gerberg’s property hasn’t been reviewed in any detailed way.” I know personally several of the people, like Mr. Gerberg, who were subjected to the review process in 2000, and it was painful. Am I now to assume that this procedure was also entirely pointless?The Aspen City Council, all property owners, the legal community, as well as the general public in Aspen, should question this process in detail. Putting private property owners through any historic evaluation procedure without their consent at the expense of taxpayers is something that should not be taken lightly. Out of respect for what is truly historic, both property owners and the HPC must apply the review process in a very detailed way. Property owners who are subjected to this process invest countless hours of their own time, money, and emotion working with historic consultants and lawyers to justify the validity of a historic designation, and in doing so it is obvious that the property owners do take the process seriously. Shouldn’t these property owners be able to expect the same from the HPC?It seems problematic that the Aspen voters will tolerate any commission with the power to make recommendations to the city before doing a thorough review of the facts. These dubious procedures create distrust and jeopardize the reputation of the entire city government. This non-accountable recklessness becomes a travesty of justice and every property owner and individual in Aspen should be extremely concerned. In all actuality, it may be far more appropriate to review the HPC rather than re-review any property that has been on this treadmill and has already proven to have no historical merit.Leslie WittAspen
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