Burlingame exposes Achilles’ heel
August 5, 2008
Les Holst (letter to the editor, July 17) well articulated how personal a few regard Burlingame when he urged us to support the “mature council” who will “leave Aspen alone!”
Les, will you next address why Burlingame changed from a land bank ” building 20 to 30 units every few years to replace local workers retiring ” to this massive project? Will you tell me why your neighborhood should remain unchanged while mine grows by 200 percent? Will you (or the council you defend) explain to me how we can claim to be working toward sustainability when they plan to close the lumber yard?
Can council or Les explain to me why this one City Council should spend 30 years of all projected housing revenues now on one project? What happens in five years, or 10? Les warns us about greed heads and pro-growth candidates, but I’m thinking local government might want to look in the mirror.
Once upon a time the generous tax subsidy created by the RETT made up the difference between the price people should realistically pay and what Aspen real estate costs. Once upon a time local government built projects that were on an Aspen scale. Once upon a time large projects were built in conjunction with partners like private businesses, the Music Associates of Aspen or the school. Once upon a time voters could rely on information supporting ballot questions. Once upon a time developers were required to finish the project before they went on to the next, but the city hasn’t finished the phase at Burlingame they started. Once upon a time seemed a smarter, wiser and sustainable way to build local housing.
No one ” or should I say no rational, fair person ” believes Burlingame or the affordable-housing program should end. We can only be a sustainable community if we have a local, living, breathing, working population that keeps the lights on and things running.
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But Burlingame is exposing an Achilles’ heel. We better get this right now while we can. Too much is at stake. And the discussion is personal only if the players make it so.