Better late than never to analyze hydro project
In response to Scott Writer’s letter (“The value of water,” Jan. 7, The Aspen Times), I feel the people of Aspen have already benefited greatly from the petition effort.
In 2007 when the bond issue passed, the voter turnout was about 800. There was virtually no press coverage, and the information available to make an informed decision was scarce. My motivation for sponsoring the petition is to open the project to public scrutiny. If the petition is successful, the hydro project will not be defeated. A successful petition drive will at best overturn a zoning ordinance that allows for the construction of the building to house the proposed hydro plant.
I hope that when the petitions are presented to the city clerk with enough valid signatures, the City Council will give the people the chance to vote to overturn the zoning change. This petition drive is not about defeating the hydro project. It is about giving the citizens of Aspen the benefit of hearing arguments for and against, for the city to be able to argue its case, for the opposition to argue its case (OMG, the Broncos won).
Scott’s point should to be explored. Unless the petition drive succeeds I see little chance of a continued public discussion. I do not have the legal understanding of water rights to opine on Scott’s points. I hope that some water rights attorney will write to address the points Scott presents.
I believe enough Aspen voters are concerned enough to sign the petition and force the city council to take further action on the zoning change. I sincerely hope the city council will honor the citizens and allow for a special election to decide the outcome. More importantly, the public deserves the opportunity to benefit from a full, respectful and through discussion of all the issues connected with a hydro project. This discussion did not happen in 2007.
If you have not yet signed the petition please email: email@example.com or call me at 970-948-3858. Signing the petition is a vote for full public discussion of the issues and a vote for the democratic process.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.