Burlingame far from sprawl
Dear Editor:As the land planner for Bar/X Ranch, and thus the originator of Burlingame Ranch affordable housings location, I feel it necessary to respond to the planning terms being so loosely thrown around by the opposition to Burlingame.In modern times, the use of the terms suburban sprawl or urban sprawl is identified with the density or the number of residents per acre. Development is considered sprawl when it is perceived as having an inappropriately low density for its location. The density of Burlingame Ranch will fall between seven and 10 units per acre. This calculation includes the open space areas designed into the project. This is decidedly urban density and is in fact greater than the current residential density of parts of the historic downtown grid of Aspen.In using the terms suburb and sprawl, the opponents have said the location of Burlingame Ranch is inappropriate. The Burlingame Ranch site sits within a few hundred feet of the industrial back end of the Airport Business Center. The site is set back far enough from the Highway 82 corridor for quiet and privacy, but it could not be considered in any manner remote. Furthermore, the site would not impact the historically irrigated meadows of the ranch and the slopes of Deer Hill. Instead, the site occupies an area that has been used for dry cattle grazing for years and has no significant value agriculturally nor is in anything like a pristine state.Thanks to a talented planning staff over many years, and to the sophisticated community input to the Aspen Area Community Plan, Aspen has forged a fine functional green belt around its historic core. The Aspen belt has preserved a huge acreage of open space and has still fitted in a mix of deed-restricted and free-market housing, as well as institutional, business and recreational development that Aspen has required for balanced growth.The land planning for Burlingame Ranch continues this attempt to find balance in the midst of conflicting community desires balance between mind, body and spirit the Aspen Idea. By combining public and private land use planning, Aspen is benefiting by greater land conservation, more affordable housing, and reduced free-market density compared to the development that would otherwise be occurring. This is almost certainly the best-informed land use decision that Aspen City Council has ever made.Finally, to the accusations that Burlingame Ranch isolates a single social class of residents, the opposite is true. Burlingame Ranch is the most socially balanced affordable housing that Aspen has ever produced, and contains housing for all income levels plus resident-occupied (RO) lots. Combined with the free-market units on the Bar/X Ranch the overall project will house a complete cross-section of Aspen society.John LiftonBar/X RanchAspen and Telluride
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