Eyes wide shut? | AspenTimes.com

Eyes wide shut?

Dear Editor:

Catching up with local news makes one wonder if everyday is April 1 in Aspen. This week the city proposed spending $20,000 on reusable stainless steel water bottles and $9,400 on filling stations for them. How long do you think people will walk around tethered to their official city of Aspen stainless steel water bottle? Five minutes? Five hours? Will the city ticket anyone caught holding a Fiji bottle?

Later this week the newspaper reported that the city refused to spend $6,000 to match ACRA’s $6,000 offer to update the city’s Aspen Area Community Plan economic study from 2007 conditions to 2011 realities. Keep in mind the AACP is the basis of the next 10 years of government regulations, and the 2007 report it’s based on says;

• More employee housing is needed because mid-valley home prices will continue to escalate into the foreseeable future. (Mid-valley home prices decreased 40 percent since the report was written)

• Luxury homes and luxury retail will continue to increase, so more and more employees will be needed to fill those jobs. (2,400 jobs have been lost in Pitkin County from 2008-2010)

• Real estate sales as a portion of the Aspen economy is double retail and needs to be “brought back in balance.” (By 2011 real estate has already dropped to its historic percentage of the total Aspen economy)

Our proposed Community Plan is a logical reaction to the boom times of 2007. Creating quota limits for luxury stores, requiring 100 percent affordable housing mitigation, creating a “critical mass of employee housing,” and even “ensuring all residents have access to dental care” are ideas rooted in 2007 logic, not 2011 reality! Why would the city spend over $700,000 so far on a community plan process and refuse to spend $6,000 to show the community it is reality based?

I’ve heard over and over questioning of the AACP is being done by “special interests.” I guess ACRA is a special interest, special in the sense that anyone who has a job or a business is someone they theoretically represent. Who does that leave as the “unspecial” interests – retired people/trust funders/government workers? Which members of the community is this plan for?

The beer commercial’s most interesting man in the world would say, “Stay special, my friends.”

Tim Semrau


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