Frustrated and disappointed
(This letter was originally addressed to the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission, which endorsed conceptual plans for the Lodge at Aspen Mountain on Tuesday.)Dear Editor:For the past 16 months, this project has visited your agenda several times. Each session contains open discussion and written comments attesting to the size of the project and its negative impact on the local community. In subsequent meetings, the developers of the Lodge at Aspen Mountain (LAM) return with marginal changes in the expectation that a little is enough.You received input from the community consisting of hypothetical overlays of the project against photographs of what currently exists on South Aspen Street. With further prodding from the P&Z, elevation sightings were prepared and presented to officially set into reality the impact of two-dimensional architectural drawings of this important project. In addition, input from the community included ideas and concepts to reduce the mass by sinking the entire project farther underground than currently planned. In June, in the face of all these facts, there was an agreement to defer further discussion to July 5. Shortly after [June] 14 emerged another revised plan circulated from the LAM.I am disappointed that the LAM continues to consume significant time of the P&Z commissioners. The project did not emerge overnight, nor are the principals unfamiliar with Aspen property development. The tactics within the last month suggests to me the success of the project is going to be based on how long one point of view prevails over the other. In short, local ordinances, development codes and the process by which they are managed in the Aspen community are tertiary to the magic words “economic development.” There is a set of guidelines that has prohibited this town from being transformed beyond its historical nature. This is not a new concept for the Aspen community and yet the LAM continues to wish for significant variances as if this community’s long-held views on development did not exist. Perhaps it is more appropriate for the LAM to campaign for code revisions that would then permit them to create fortresses, or move this project to a resort area where visual continuity of housing and business structures are not defined in any significant guidelines. My point of view remains the same: Development of South Aspen street will occur, but the most recent revised plan from the LAM continues to ask permission from the city of Aspen to build a structure out of proportion to the local area and the Aspen community in general.I urge you to reject the most recent LAM proposal.Michael R. MizenAspen
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Aspen’s dirty downtown alleys are enough of a blight that the city government is taking the initiative to clean them up this week.