Let’s play by the rules | AspenTimes.com

Let’s play by the rules

Dear Editor:We are writing regarding ACES’s position on the pool and associated improvements proposed by our neighbor Jonathan Lewis.ACES trustees and staff are entrusted with protecting and defending the natural integrity of Hallam Lake. We recognize and agree with our community which regards this wonderful place as a priceless community asset, as sacred ground.About 15 years ago ACES and the city of Aspen, as well as several Hallam Lake neighbors, invested significant thought and effort into crafting the language of the Hallam Lake Bluff Review process. It was a fairly successful effort to protect Hallam Lake from encroachment while recognizing the private property rights of our neighbors.The neighbors were almost unanimous in agreeing at that time that the proposed new zone would both protect an important community asset, Hallam Lake, and would protect their enjoyment of their own property. The zone accomplished this by precluding the possibility that a neighbor would build a home draping down over the Hallam Lake bluff and compromise views and wildlife habitat as well.The spirit of the bluff review was to err on the side of strict interpretation regarding noise, light, visual impact and protections against erosion and landslide, surface runoff, obstructions of mountain views and damage to the aesthetic and historical integrity of the Hallam Lake preserve.The current proposal by Lewis as presented to ACES lacks a narrative or drawing details which address these issues, and it is not clear that the spirit of the bluff review restrictions has been adequately addressed by this project. Until we are reassured that these issues can be resolved, ACES cannot support the proposal in its current form. Many months ago ACES did not find fault with the project, but since then the plan has gone through several iterations and we feel our present concerns are justified.In the proposal by Lewis, ACES asks that the 15-foot setback from the top of bluff be strictly observed in the case of the pool, deck or any other improvements. Any exception to the 15-foot rule will open us up to future requests for variances, and we believe it is best to simply hold the line at 15 feet. We worked long and hard to establish the rules. Let’s play by them.The more subjective elements of the ESA review include noise, light and excavation activity which could destabilize the Hallam Lake bluff. The plan as presented by Design Workshop has no detail addressing lights, noise from pool pumps, outdoor speakers, etc., nor is there any indication of engineering for the tunnel as it could affect the stability of the bluff.ACES needs reassurance that our concerns outlined above will be addressed and tied to the approval by P&Z and or City Council so those areas of interpretation are not just handled administratively. We take this view because this issue involves a very valuable community asset.We are committed to upholding our responsibility as stewards of Hallam Lake while also recognizing the importance of maintaining a cooperative stance with our neighbors who worked with us in good faith to establish the Hallam Lake Bluff Review process 15 years ago.John Katzenberger, ACES Board of Trustees presidentTom Cardamone, ACES director

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