House arrest | AspenTimes.com

House arrest

To: Editor

From: Ron Harris, Aspen

Re: Ordinances 30 and 48

Ordinances 30 and 48 have been looked upon by aware Aspenites as akin to house arrest ” holding owners hostage in their own homes or buildings. What is interesting is that most of these concerned people are not even affected by the ordinance. Yet!

Fortunately, there are rumblings that City Council members are rethinking what was originally proposed as a great idea – putting valuable property in limbo so the owner cannot renovate or renew it. That action would dramatically reduce the property’s value. In some circles, it’s known as stealing. No legitimate, responsible leader wants to be labeled a thief.

We must have a clean start. It is time for Aspen’s leadership to rethink and react. Let’s stop bickering and do the right thing: Totally get rid of the concept of capriciously listing property as “historic untouchables” once and for all. Concede that the 20th-Century properties to be “protected,” for the most part, have no architectural or historical value whatsoever. For those few commercial or residential buildings the city wants to retain as untouchables, the city should compensate the owners in accordance with the legal concept of eminent domain. It would be the only honest thing to do.

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One group would be very happy if Ordinance 30/48 would stand pat – salivating trial and real estate lawyers. They think wins against the ordinance would be slam dunks and they would be paid handsomely for “going for the jugular.” Do Aspen residents actually want their tax dollars spent for such a purpose?

Any worthy politician must have the ability to change his or her mind when the facts reveal prior judgment to be inappropriate. We must now seek that from Aspen’s city government.