Development not right for South Aspen Street
(This letter was originally addressed to the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission.)Dear Editor:I’m writing to the honorable commission, not only as a protester to the proposed Lodge at Aspen Mountain, but also as a part-time resident since 1954 having spent many wonderful years with my late uncle, Fred 0. Lane watching the “Aspen that was” evolve into the “Aspen that is.” Privatization, evolution and progress can all be very admirable and very positive, but they can also be damning.Many of us have been looking at the plans and going to meetings and going through the torturous process that this application called the Lodge at Aspen Mountain has been engaging in. Now, having seen the renderings of our local architect, the proposed project not only impacts all of South Aspen Street but all the streets and homes in the radius of about four to five blocks and on our fellow citizens who live there both year round and part time. It is now so very understandable why the applicants never wish to put up balloons, story poles or height measurements of any kind, because they would have told the story of how you are going to wipe out the right to peaceably exist in an environment which is wonderful.Should the honorable commissioners fail to recognize the impact of this behemoth which is totally out of character of an Aspen we knew and loved, of an Aspen that has been sincere and pretty careful about enforcing zoning and giving consideration to environmental impact, to allow this structure to be built in this fashion as proposed would be a violation of everything you have previously stood for and everything that Aspen was and should be. This commercial building is at best a charade, and an example of a total lack of consideration for its neighbors and our city of Aspen. Your sworn duty is to uphold the sanctity of the vested rights of others and for peaceful enjoyment of their property without invasion of the privacy that has made us all come here and cherish the privilege to live here. You may have the power to do this, but knowing that you also have a conscience, you won’t allow this to occur.This building must be more subterranean, less bulky and further removed from the property lines. The attempt to use the last inch of available real estate on all sides is wrong. Please think about:1. Do we really need and want another hotel to compete with those that exist? We are all mindful that their occupancy percentages simply do not justify the building of another hotel to further delude the occupancy figures of all the others.2. Do you really believe that the other persons who have developed in good faith the Jerome, the St. Regis, the Little Nell and the new hotel now being built on the site of the old Continental Inn, need this additional structure? All of them render services and dedication to Aspen in their attempt to survive here even though the occupancy percentages are virtually nil during four months of the year.3. If this project was to be put on a ballot to the voting electorate of Aspen to approve or disapprove, what do you think they would do? I know what they would do; they would reject it as totally intrusive and destructive.Please consider not only the environmental impact but the economic impact. I hope you will give all of us an opportunity to be heard.Mark MendelAspen and Philadelphia
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