Base Village the wrong plan
Dear Editor: I was gratified and humbled by the huge display of support for my guest commentary in the Snowmass Sun on Dec. 22 (see snowmasssun.com). Calls and e-mails came in from a vast cross-section of citizens. They came from locals and out-of-towners alike. They came from homeowners, renters, and second-home owners. Even ski company employees and members of the real estate community called in (sorry, no names!). All expressed concern about the dire consequences of the current Base Village proposal. The most complimentary response of all was from Pat O’Donnell, president and CEO of the Aspen Skiing Co. In the Dec. 29 issue of the Snowmass Sun, Pat mentioned the spirited debates we have had about the merits of “The Proposal.” My illustration of the 1 million-square-foot scheme, how it stampeded the Town Comprehensive Plan and its tragic effects on our way of life, made such an impression that the prez himself was compelled to respond!I respect Pat and all he has accomplished, both personally and professionally. He is a gentleman and I regard his opinion highly. But, while calling my observations “rhetoric,” he made the mistake of highlighting other Intrawest developments in his defense of Base Village! Has anyone visited Keystone, Beaver Creek or Copper Mountain lately? These close-to-home behemoths are easily visited and I encourage all voters to check them out. The townspeople in each village were promised economic “renewal,” “prosperity for all.” What they got was huge buildings, high rents and shaded streets! I visited Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, a year ago and took videos of the once-quaint alpine village. (They are available for any interested party.) No miraculous economic rebirth was evident! The change of atmosphere in all of these victim villages is staggering, however!In the most recent Snowmass Sun, another friend and fine gentleman responded in favor of the “Super Size” version of Base Village. Jim Light’s donations to our community are epic. The man has history in our burg and that is good. Unfortunately, he sees things through “developers’ eyes.” Mr. Light says we need the 1,000,000-square-foot exaggeration in order to “… regain our position as a first-class resort.” All any of us has to do is pick up a ski industry magazine to reaffirm we are one of the world’s most popular resorts. We are the best family resort in the world. And we do take better care of our skiing guest than any other resort on the planet! Mr. Light emphasized the fact that the Crown family will not reinvest in “… faster lifts, more shopping and dining, a terrific children’s center and $45 million of on-mountain improvements” … unless they get the whole enchilada built at the base!!Let me remind everyone that the Snowmass Ski Area pays the bills for the other three ski areas. Also, the Crowns are very, very bright and successful people. Now, if one part of my business was paying all the bills for the other parts, I surely would keep that part of the enterprise humming! One doesn’t need a Wharton MBA to figure that out!Fellow citizens, the urban assault that is the current Base Village proposal can still be avoided! Please, please, in the privacy of the voting booth, exercise your right to save our village. Vote No on Feb. 3.Joe FarrellSnowmass Village
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