Giving up too much at Lift 1
December 18, 2008
I find it disturbing that the COWOP Master Plan process has still not produced the amount of public land, (both in acreage and square footage) including 10 streets and alleys of public rights-away and conservation easement acreage that this entire project is taking over in order to build two enormous hotels of 650,000 square feet for this site. This project has NOT YET revealed to the community all this land it is vacating to make this development possible. They say they do not have the numbers yet, and will provide them once it gets approval. Really?
We have the largest proposed development in Aspen’s history, and yet, we cannot provide the public with this basic information about how much public land they are using up for their development?
Historic preservation is more than just preserving a couple of buildings! It is also about preserving the historic development pattern that tells a history and story of the neighborhood and its evolution of what has happened during this era that has made Aspen famous: the Lift 1A , the longest, post-WWII, first chair serving the first FIS Ski Federation Championships, the first Interski, the World Cup Downhill Races, and the list goes on. To this end, the COWOP has failed in its goal to “showcase and promote Aspen’s Ski history and traditions …” Once built, our Lift 1A side of the mountain will be no semblance of its former mountain slope. It will be unrecognizable.
The COWOP fails in its second goal “to integrate the balance of architecture and design through the relationships, mass and scale of historic and proposed structures.”
Nowhere do both Lodges in their massive designs relate to the “chalet” neighborhood in scale or historic style.
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Thirdly, this 650,000-square-foot development will forever add 1,300 more cars daily onto our streets. (I am told, this does not even include the additional construction traffic.) The development has failed “to provide a project without burdens on the community.”
Last but not least, there is no reason to give this enormous project nine years vesting rights. Even if they do not sell the rights, it does little good to approve such a project, given the future of the economy, the amount of public property involved, and leaving a community in limbo for nine years.
Council should vote NO on this project and let the developers come back with a realistic plan that stays within the existing land use, zoning code, that is in keeping with the scale and history of the neighborhood. The community is giving up too much.