How could this be?
My husband and I purchased our Aspen home almost 50 years ago. It is a post-war European style chalet that, a few years ago, we decided to voluntarily have designated historic. We wanted it be a legacy for our neighborhood and for Aspen. Particularly in the last 10 years, we have had many offers from developers who wanted to purchase our property to tear down our chalet and cut down our wonderful 6-year-old spruce trees in order to build another big spec house. We did not want that to happen. We have always loved Aspen and the town’s appreciation for its historic buildings and the preservation of the character of Aspen that makes it so special.
The process of having our chalet designated historic was a long one, with public hearings in front of Aspen City Council, public notices in newspapers and being required to mail out notices to several hundred neighboring homeowners. There was considerable time and expense that we had to go through and many months until we received the historic designation.
So, imagine my surprise when, with one brief City Council meeting, the huge, contemporary, box-like art museum and the adjacent retail building and penthouse were waived through City Council.
That museum, if it is built, will be more offensive to the character of Aspen than anything that we have ever seen here. And, I understand that it didn’t go through any of the approval processes and reviews that any buildings built in Aspen have to go through.
I don’t know what this means for the future of Aspen. Are the concerns for the character of Aspen no longer of any importance to the people of Aspen? I hope that isn’t the case.
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