Blue Vic alley out of Aspen’s character
Dear Editor:As frequent visitors to Aspen and occasional readers of The Aspen Times, Barbara and I were surprised to learn yesterday that an alley has been proposed between 202 and 212 N. Monarch. The article, “Proposed alley divides sides in ‘Blue Vic’ dispute” (March 9), also states that the proposal includes moving one of the oldest homes, and an historically designated site, to make room for another house between Mr. Philip Hodgson’s house at 202 and the “Blue Vic” at 212 N. Monarch. If that was all, it would be detrimental enough to the residential area and small open space affected, but there also is a proposed commercial building with corresponding increased traffic through the proposed alley.The article discussed Mr. Hodgson’s well-considered arguments and, we believe, his reasonable efforts to accommodate the builder who only bought the property last summer. We can understand if Mr. Hodgson and other similarly situated residents who have maintained this comfortable open residential area and their homes for many decades are frustrated or upset by such a cluster of new construction, reposition of an historical building, and the filling in that is proposed of the very necessary existing open space.Mr. Hodgson’s daughter Drew’s poignant letter to the Times, “Save Patty’s Gardens” (March 9), should be taken to heart by the City Council. She and her father clearly feel embattled by the proposal and the apparent leanings of the City Council. The Hodgson family has done a lot for Aspen and Snowmass over the years, and it seems to us that it is simply not right to allow a recent purchaser to tear apart the fabric of the existing neighborhood and the lives of long-term residents, wedging buildings into an already fully used space.In addition to their arguments, we recall that the open area through which the new alley and the new residence is proposed is a bear movement area through the town of Aspen. Whenever we are there we inquire about these animals and are informed that they are often sighted or heard at night moving through that area. Citizens and bears have avoided and tolerated each other in Aspen in large part because of pressure relief areas like that between the two properties. It seems to us that the bears should be accommodated rather than forced through bottlenecks through that area by development that is not at all sensitive to their needs or to the concerns of the long term residents.We live in southern Maryland and obviously have no say in Aspen’s handling of its property development issues. We have our own issues that trouble us about the stress on our infrastructure and services when new residential development, rubble dumps, etc. are proposed which reduce our open space. We have, however, often admired the way the city of Aspen does not seem to permit resubdivision to the point of suffocating everyone with overdevelopment. We applaud the City Council on its past efforts to limit just such activity as is being proposed. We would be sorry to see Aspen lose its focus on quality of life for its long-term residents, both human and animal, while shortsightedly attempting to accommodate a recent purchaser who should have had no expectation that his disruptive plan would be accepted when he purchased his property.Richard R. StoneBrandywine, Md.
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Aspen School District’s younger students will return to class next week, but that’s not the case for those in the seventh through 12th grade, who will continue to take courses from home.