AACP should not cater to the greedy | AspenTimes.com

AACP should not cater to the greedy

Dear Editor:

The Aspen Area Community Plan is a 10-year visionary plan which reflects our community values and goals for a sustainable economy and future development in this city and county. It was not intended to be a “cash cow” for those special interests who presented at the Aspen Business Luncheon .

This plan has been compiled by members of our diverse community including: lawyers, Realtors, bankers, contractors, developers, businessmen, planners and retired and working residents.

It has sought input from our community members for over a 2 1/2-year period through clicker sessions, open presentations, and hearings attended by the public and interested citizens. Where were these people when everyone else was giving their input? Why now are they trying to halt this plan? The devil is in the details.

Remember three and four years ago, when everyone in the neighborhoods and residents were complaining of the noise, pollution, the traffic jams, lack of parking taken up by construction trucks, relentless commuters in and out of town, the CO2 and polluted particulants in our air, clogged streams and rivers with sediment from construction sites, and lack of employee housing for those generated by these development sites all over town and the valley? All our neighborhoods were impacted negatively, as well as our quality of life .

“A boom and bust economy” under a highly speculative, highly leveraged market, driving our infill codes and PUDs to out-of-scale structures or holes in the ground, is precisely what got us in this down-turned economy in the first place!

Now individuals at the business luncheon want a plan that lacks all restraints or regulation on development so that all the impacts and burden of development can now be shouldered by residents, their neighborhoods and the environment surrounding any development.

The tone at the luncheon was “scare tactics” at best. In fact one Realtor stated that if this plan were to go through, she might have to give up her business (nevermind that she lives downvalley and works up here). Another builder stated the fact that he has lost 70 percent of his workforce over the past three-year period (nevermind that his leveraged speculative developments were three times over priced than today’s value).

The argument that a developer cannot build without mitigating with 100 percent affordable housing by those employees generated by that development is false. You simply build better and smarter.

Are the residents suppose to bear the burden the negative impacts, of these out-of-scale, out-of-character large developments? Are we, the taxpayers, supposed to bear all the burden on our infrastructure from increased development on our roads, streets, sewers, water plant, dump, etc.? Should the environment have to bear the cost of scarred landscapes on slopes where development should not be built or in riparian zoned areas?

The answer is no, of course not. Our government and representatives are looking out for its citizens and residents. Our citizen commissions have drafted a plan for “sustainable solutions,” which both protect our environment, our quality of life, and retain some of that beauty which has been a drawing card to Aspen and Pitkin County for tourists and second-home owners for decades.

The well drafted AACP is not designed to line the pockets of a few whose self-serving interests want nothing more than the pubic to bear the burden and impacts of what they ultimately reap in greed. The AACP is sustainable, all inclusive, and thoughtfully reflects all the values of those living and working in the community.

Junee Kirk