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Another perspective

Dear Editor:

While I respect and appreciate the viewpoints presented in the June 3 Aspen Times editorial, “Tree Farm: Right idea, wrong spot,” I would offer a few counterpoints:

1. The local jurisdictions have generally left it up to the development community to ease the affordable housing shortfall. While there has been much discussion and many studies over the past few years by local jurisdictions on how to potentially ease the problem, there have been no tangible means of mitigation that have been implemented in the midvalley by either the town of Basalt or Eagle County. This leaves the problem to the development community to solve.

2. I would argue that this is the right location for this type of project. Medium-density housing (especially affordable housing) belongs in areas that are served by community needs and mass transit, not in outlying areas such as Missouri Heights or Sunlight ski area, as examples. The overall density of this project is 4.4 dwelling units per acre, which by any national standard is considered low to medium density.

3. This project is served by one primary intersection, and would add 3,700 projected daily weekday trips to that intersection in the year 2030. This is a very small fraction of the amount that will be generated by Willits Town Center, and an even smaller fraction of the total daily volume on Highway 82. This is due to the Tree Farm’s relationship to and incorporation of transit access in its design. It has been proven that communities with access to transit generate a minimum of 45 percent fewer vehicle trips than nontransit-oriented communities.

Another way to think about it is this: Imagine the impact of 319 residences in the midvalley that were developed piecemeal in a low-density format; the result would be no additional affordable housing stock, at least double the traffic impact, and have many times the environmental impact. While this project may initially seem substantial, think about what we will collectively look back on 30 years from now: Should we continue to cut up large amounts of open space for more low-density homes? When we look back on this from the future, will this project be the right decision? I would say yes.

Jon Fredericks

director of land planning, Bonsai Communities


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