Against the Aspen Club redevelopment
The proposal before City Council to create a 188,000-square-foot timeshare facility and expansion at the Aspen Club presents many negative issues:
1) The Aspen Area Community Plan specifically states that timeshare units will not be allowed in residential areas. There was clear intent in the thinking that point to this as a protection. This neighborhood is zoned rural residential. It is not zoned for lodging. The area will be heavily impacted by a development of this scope.
2) The TDM (Traffic Demand Management plan) does put forth many ways to mitigate the traffic. Unfortunately, none of them are enforceable. When Dick Butera promised to mitigate traffic coming into the Club on Ute, there was no enforcement. Whether it is the fault of the turnover of government or laxity by the Club, the fact is that enforcement has not happened. We have no reason to think that enforcement will happen in the future.
The Club’s claim that it will not increase traffic is not realistic. A timeshare project of 40 units (with lock offs) has to increase daily car trips. Not only will there be more truck traffic, delivery vehicles, garbage pick-ups, but also the guests who come to stay will go to town to restaurants and shops, the ski areas and all the other sites the valley has to offer. I suspect much of it will be in cars. Getting all the employees (which would obviously increase) to magically get to the club by shuttle is wishful thinking, and again, hardly enforceable.
3) The main developer, Michael Fox, only owns 35 percent of this project. His investors obviously would like to see some profit. He may, just like Butera, turn around and sell the Club once he receives approvals for development. Why does he have the right to cause such a huge change in a residential neighborhood? This is still a private club, not a public facility. So is this expansion really a “public benefit?” If approved, it will cause the loss of the quiet, residential quality of Ute Avenue forever.
4) It is not the responsibility of the city to guarantee that the Aspen Club stays in business by allowing them to develop a large commercial lodging venture. Therefore, we respectfully request that Council uphold the current zoning and vote no.
Linda and Gary Nathanson
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