Blame game shortsighted
Dear Editor:Bert Myrin, in a letter to The Aspen Times on Tuesday (“Former mayor is to blame”), assigns the “blame” for infill and the proposed new buildings in the core to former Mayor Helen Klanderud. Bert and I attended many hearings together during the consideration of the infill codes, and we both stated our disagreement with many of the infill-code provisions and with the potential for larger buildings than we preferred to see. However, I am disappointed that Bert has chosen to publicly place blame for infill specifically on Klanderud. His recent letter is, in my opinion, a mean-spirited and undeserved personal attack because it ignores both the facts and the process surrounding the infill code, which are facts and a process in which Bert participated and that he is presumably well aware of.If blame should be placed on the supporters of infill, my observation is that the overwhelming majority of participants in the public process supported infill. Infill was spearheaded by our Community Development staff and our Planning & Zoning Commission, interested in seeing more “urban” (dense) development in our “urban” core, including a carrot – more employee housing. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Stay Aspen Snowmass, various businesses and many locals concerned about our economic vitality attended the hearings on infill, and the precedent-setting PUD approval process for the now Hyatt Grand Aspen and Residences at The Little Nell, to express their support. Only a very few neighbors objected to the size variances granted to the Hyatt Grand Aspen and Residences at The Little Nell. Likewise, the public comment at the infill hearings relating to downtown was almost entirely in favor of new development in the downtown area and strongly supported the perceived economic benefits to the community. Simply put, the mayor and council listened to the clear, vocal and participating majority, and the votes for infill and the Hyatt Grand Aspen and Residences at The Little Nell were all 5-0 or 4-1. Those of us who disagreed obviously did not make arguments compelling enough to sway the participating public or the elected officials.Mayor Mick Ireland and Councilmembers Torre and Steve Skadron were in office for a number of years before the Aspen Art Museum was proposed and before the recent surge of development applications. Certainly Klanderud is not to blame for the fact that the infill codes were not amended by the City Council during the several years after she left office.Steve FalenderAspen
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