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City is not listening

Saturday afternoon I witnessed the multicar pileup that occurred because of bad weather and a steep slope at the top of South Aspen Street.

The automobiles involved included several SUVs and an ambulance, none of which was able to extricate itself from the snow. Several policemen were aided by a snowcat to pull the cars down the street, or in the case of the ambulance, pull it up the street. South Aspen Street remained barricaded for the entire night because it was clearly not drivable.

Aspen residents need to be aware that there are more developments that have been approved and even more that are being considered for building variances by the city Planning and Zoning Commission on South Aspen Street. Growth is inevitable, but building codes are being ignored so developers can maximize profits while minimizing open space, ignoring safety issues, increasing traffic and negatively impacting all present residents.

This is especially troubling in reference to the Lodge on Aspen Mountain, planned for South Aspen Street. While an approved plan exists for 14 free-market townhouses and 17 affordable housing units, the developers have submitted a new plan proposing a luxury hotel, fractional ownership units and commercial space that would be the largest complex in town and not in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood.

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The obvious disregard for the building and zoning codes, public safety and aesthetics is apparent in the outrageous mass and scale of this proposed development.

Scott Woodford, city planner, has made a staff recommendation for approval of this development by the Planning and Zoning Commission, even though repeated requests for design changes have not been addressed. The serious safety, density, traffic, parking and environmental concerns and obvious opposition by the public have been totally ignored.

Decisions affecting the future of Aspen are being made to benefit developers and tax revenue at the expense of those of us that will live in the shadows of these massive buildings. It’s time for the citizens of Aspen to follow the lead of the Citizens for Responsible Growth in Snowmass.

Nina Hawn Zale

Aspen


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