Commit to next generation |

Commit to next generation

Dear Editor:Why did 60 percent of Aspen voters advise the city to sign the contracts for the Bar/X Ranch annexation in August 2000? Because 80 acres of this cattle ranch would be zoned for permanent conservation, and free-market development would be limited to 12 new lots.Because the city would deed-restrict land for open space that was bought with housing funds, now 115 acres. Because Aspen would receive a 21-acre site for housing our year-round working community, located closer to downtown than the airport, North 40, CMC or the new animal shelter.Because it is a good contract, negotiated knowing how this 146-acre ranch could otherwise be developed with its current zoning under county codes.Why are we voting on Burlingame again? Even as the 2000 votes were counted, opponents swore they’d continue to fight. They’ve rehashed and re-released a slew of inflammatory inaccurate charges: The contracts are bad, the costs are too high, the process was wrong, people living in housing are cheats, affordable neighborhoods are ghettos, and there is no housing problem.They want us to breach our contracts signed after the 2000 vote. To lose our only real chance to maintain a balanced community and provide affordable housing to the next generation of Aspen. To open ourselves up to lawsuits for acting in bad faith. To expose ourselves to the uncertainty of how this land will be developed in the county. To throw away years of planning that achieve multiple community goals. They simply don’t see the greatest threat to Aspen’s vitality, economy and social fabric: the continued loss of our families, middle class, volunteers and young people. Over a thousand people entered our housing lotteries in the past two years. The list of lottery hopefuls is peppered with second-generation Aspenites, dedicated longtime locals and workers essential to our institutions and businesses who hope to become part of our permanent community. I believe that Burlingame is, as the voters determined in 2000, critical to Aspen’s future.The Bar/X Ranch annexation is a one-time opportunity. Over 195 acres, 78 percent of the 253-acre project area, will be preserved for open space. The cattle meadows will be protected. The free-market development will be limited to one-quarter of its potential build-out under county zoning. With Burlingame Village, we can give ski patrollers and school teachers, nurses, shop owners and chefs, postmen and childcare providers, people of all kinds, your friends and co-workers a chance to live near where they work.Please vote “yes” on May 3 and uphold our commitments to our partners, our community and our younger generations.Rachel E. Richards Aspen

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