Initiatives look to future
Dear Editor:There are many breathtaking and unique places in the world, and I believe that Aspen is one of them.I have loved Aspen all my life. Love inspires feelings of pride and protection, whether it is for a person or a place. I want to ensure that this place, this valley, is as wonderful tomorrow as it is today.There seems to be a lot of confusion about the two initiatives that are being circulated for signatures in Aspen.First of all, these initiatives are not a “referendum” on the proposed Burlingame Village development or on the merits of affordable housing. To be very clear, these initiatives are about making the City of Aspen government accountable. They are about good government.If passed, one initiative will prohibit Aspen city government from:• Spending money on building roads or infrastructure for any major affordable housing development before designs and costs, on- and off-site, have been calculated, disclosed and approved by city voters.• Annexing or granting final land-use approvals of a major affordable housing project until the design and costs, on- and off-site, have been calculated, disclosed and approved by city of Aspen voters. (A major affordable housing development means a project over 10 units or using public subsidies over $100,000.00 per unit.)The second initiative, if passed, will prohibit Aspen city government from: • Waiving any requirements of the city’s land-use code.• Assuring a development outcome.• Waiving or paying for a private landowners’ affordable housing costs. • Waiving the rights of citizens to seek enforcement of land-use violations, in a pre-annexation or annexation agreement.These initiatives if passed, would apply to places like Moore, Marolt, Shadow Mountain and Smuggler Mountain and other locations, if and when the city decides to also consider these for more major affordable housing developments in the future.It is the future of Aspen that makes knowledge and forethought so very important. Aspen has always prided itself on being a community of people that seek both knowledge and wisdom. How can it be wrong to want accurate and thorough information before making decisions that will impact this valley and all of our lives so greatly? The two initiatives that are currently being circulated will give the citizens of Aspen such information and an opportunity to vote on the future of this community. Please support and sign these two initiatives.We live in a democracy. Initiatives are by law citizens’ constitutional right through which we can participate in our government. Finally, please sign the petitions not out of anger or fear, but out of love – love for this place we call home. Call 925-8536 to sign the initiatives and help bring them to a vote.Stephanie SoldnerFrisco, Colo.(Stephanie has called Aspen home since the mid 1950s. She presently lives in Frisco; her father, Paul, lives at their family home in Aspen.)
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