Deal sets bad example
December 4, 2007
I’m the last foe of affordable housing, but I have to picket the BMC West purchase. I believe in affordable housing. But I struggle to rationalize the City Council’s proposed expense. Why?
1. The property was not appraised. While other states have statutes demanding an appraisal prior to public investment in property, we don’t. Recent comparable sales in the ABC were at $30 per square foot of land; BMC is at $90.
2. My work at Sopris Foundation puts me in touch with commissioners, councilors and affordable housing buffs around the West. Aspen is watched; we are the leader. The woeful example set here would render us laughable for negligence, or culpable for reckless expenditure among our mountain-town peers. A colleague briefed on the circumstances had never seen such overpayment and called it “insane.”
3. There needs to be clarification regarding the three acres held by the city adjoining the lumberyard that appears to be part of Burlingame open space, as the bikeway sign indicates.
My home in the Aspen Airport Business Center, purchased 11 months ago, saw appreciation that is frankly nauseating. I am not here to flip it; I am here to reside. Each dollar it appreciates (thank you Rich Wager for mailing me the comps from the neighborhood ” no, I don’t want to sell) means one more friend won’t be raising her children with me. For each dollar the city over invests, one more friend won’t be able to claw his way into the market. I am passionate about Aspen and astonished at the extravagance of friends on the council.
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Council, come back to the table with a fair price or demonstrate rationale for such egregious over investment.