A warning to property owners | AspenTimes.com

A warning to property owners

Dear Editor:

A warning to all property owners in the city of Aspen: The city has a scheme whereby every property in the city will be taken from you and put into the affordable-housing pool ” without the city paying for it.

It’s called the “Demolition or Redevelopment of Multi-Family Housing” ordinance, and is contained in section 26.470.070.5 of the Aspen Land Use Code. The city staff and the city know full well that as properties age every single one over time will need to be replaced ” it’s just a natural fact that buildings have a finite useful life ” no matter how well they are maintained. With the bulk of the multi-family properties (more than two units, essentially all condos and townhomes in the city) built in Aspen during the 1960s and 1970s, how long will they last? Over the next 10 to 30 years, most will need to be replaced and redeveloped.

This is where the city’s scheme comes in ” the ordinance requires that when the units are redeveloped, they be converted to affordable housing. That’s right ” you redevelop your unit and it becomes an affordable-housing unit and you can no longer live there ” it’s given to someone that qualifies for the affordable housing program. No compensation for the property owner ” just a flat-out taking of your property without paying for it. If more than 40 percent of the project is “demolished,” it’s considered a “redevelopment” that subjects the property to the ordinance. Now the city is proposing expanding the definition of “demolition” of the project. This is a calculated attempt by the city to make your condo unit an “affordable-housing” unit for even minor remodels ” again without paying for it!

Enough is enough! What started out as the most generous affordable housing program in the United States, through the funding provided by the Real Estate Transfer Tax, has now turned into a socialist state whereby the affordably housed city staffers and city council members confiscate your property without paying for it in violation of the Constitution of the United States.

If you don’t think that you are affected because you own a single-family house or duplex, think twice. When will the ordinance be changed to come after your property? How much will you end up paying (through your taxes) when the city loses a massive lawsuit for taking property without just compensation? Does every real estate broker in town have an obligation to disclose to every prospective buyer of an Aspen condo or townhouse that one day they will be faced with the choice of letting their complex deteriorate due to age or turning their unit over to the city for its affordable housing pool, without any compensation? Realtors, beware!

The city staff’s proposed change to expand this ordinance (Ordinance 22-Series of 2008) is about to be rubber stamped by the City Council on Monday at 5 p.m. Please attend or have condo association legal representation attend to express your grave opposition to this change! We need City Council to take this ordinance out of the city’s land use code in its entirety. Show up and fight for your rights!

John Miller


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