Keeping growth healthy
Dear Editor:Whether you want to call it “laissez-faire” or whether you want to call it “Klanderudization,” there has been a marked increase in the granting of height variances for commercial projects in Aspen recently.I encourage you to attend the focus groups organized for current meetings by the city of Aspen. More than that I encourage you to VOTE for a change in the City Council makeup and to find good candidates for the next election while supporting Council members that understand your concerns about infill and healthy growth.I strongly believe that the Infill Ordinance was pushed through without careful consideration of its impacts upon Historic Buildings and their “environs,” meaning areas of close proximity to the resource – as in the case of the project near the Wheeler Opera House and the “cottages” near City Hall.These of course also indicate concerns with the Historic Preservation Committee in Aspen. As Mick Ireland pointed out, too much “laissez-faire” may give you an imbalanced commercial core and damage the heart of Aspen.At the top of the list for concerns of infill projects should be a harmonious relationship with adjacent landmark structures.Gross (meaning more than 20-foot) height variances such as those given for certain time-share projects by City Council should remain of great concern when expecting City Hall to create a successful infill program.My business, Ecological Architecture PC, has projects in Aspen and nearby as well as in my native Kansas where I purchased a home in Lawrence, near the University of Kansas, in 2002. More recently we are completing our first projects in California and North Carolina. I think that the author Bruce Berger would consider me a “half-Aspenite.”Some have advised that my political letters to the editor may not find favor in City Hall but being from Lawrence, Kan., City Hall must understand that our “zeitgeist” here is reflected proudly not only by the university mascot, our “Jayhawk,” but also by the heritage of Erin Brockovich, who graduated from Lawrence High School.Enough background. I lived continuously in Aspen for 14 years and still do work there. Jack Johnson has said that “seasonal residents” are not citizens. I would suggest that they are part-time citizens and “half-Aspenites” who should certainly be heard.Aspen is an international resort and should strive to maintain its AUTHENTICITY with dignity.Sven Erik Alstrom, AIAAspen
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