Increase scrutiny on development | AspenTimes.com

Increase scrutiny on development

Junee Kirk

Dear Editor:(This letter was originally addressed to the members of the Aspen City Council)It is commendable that Aspen’s city council might be listening to the concerned citizens and neighbors alike, over the massive inappropriate structures being built throughout our town as a result of the city’s code change and “infill.” At the last council meeting for the approval of the new proposed Boomerang Lodge, some people objected because they felt it did not fit into the scale of the neighborhood. Others objected because of its height: three to four stories when only one and two story homes and buildings exist in the neighborhood. Still others objected because it was designed out of character with the gabled roof lines of the neighboring Christiana hotel and surrounding Victorian houses in the area. All these were valid concerns.However, “the crowning blow” was the fact the code change for “infill” has not even provided the necessary changes it is was intended to do: replace and increase the mid-range priced lodging units for Aspen’s week long visitors. In fact the code change has resulted in exactly the opposite. It has only fueled more fractional ownership units, fractionalized condominium free market units, and provided profitable penthouse lofts which are creating the real estate frenzy we see all over Aspen’s core.The new Boomerang Lodge is to be 100 percent fractional condominium free market units that potentially would never provide the year around lodging units the city claims it needs for its weekend and weeklong visitors. Sunny Vann (representing the developer) seemed to be the only one able to interpret his understanding of the code and how it should work.Aspen is fast becoming a town of unattractive, boxy loft buildings which do not fit into its historic character. The affordable housing projects at the foot of Shadow Mountain on Hopkins, “Little Ajax” and Truscott Housing by the city golf course, should have undergone close scrutiny by the public and a design team before being built. The neighbors of the Limelite and Motherlode redevelopment should have been closely listened to before these incongruous designs to the neighborhood were passed.These were all built to maximize square footage and profit the developer with little consideration given to the economic and aesthetic effects they would have on Aspen as a community.It is time for the city to hire a design team and get back to a code which will protect the character of Aspen and provide the necessary lodging units the code was designed to do in the first place.Junee KirkAspen