Big meetings deserve big turnout
July 18, 2006
The big meetings the city of Aspen is hosting today deserve as much support as possible.The city government is seeking community input on a number of big issues at a time when it has come under increasingly intense criticism. Last month, city officials hosted a number of small-group meetings where 10 or so citizens and second-home owners discussed their vision for Aspen and the role city government should play in that vision.Participants offered a wide variety of opinion about Aspen and the way it’s developing. Much of their concern centered around growth, development, code enforcement and the way the City Council manages land use applications. Participants in the June meetings also were concerned with what feels like an overwhelming amount of construction occurring all at once, with all the noise and dust and disruption that comes with it. Another concern was about the mix of businesses in the commercial core.Unlike the small-group meetings, today’s meetings, at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Hotel Jerome ballroom, are open to any and all who show up. City officials will use state-of-the-art feedback technology that allows participants to respond to the questions and have their answers tallied immediately and displayed on a screen. That will allow the facilitator to address any interesting or surprising group responses on the spot.Although we criticized the way the city managed those small-group meetings, in the end, more is better than less when it comes to public involvement. Today’s meetings deserve your time and energy. By participating, you increase the chances of the city actually getting a handle on public opinion about the growth and development that’s reshaping Aspen. So far the city has heard the opinions of 160 or so people who could attend one of the June meetings. Today, the doors are open to the rest of us who call Aspen home.