Moratorium ticking away with little action so far | AspenTimes.com
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Moratorium ticking away with little action so far

We’re almost two months into an “emergency” six-month moratorium that halted most development applications in the commercial and lodging districts, and city leaders have apparently done little with that time.On Friday, the city announced plans to hold a series of small group meetings and one large community meeting to gather public input. The smaller meetings begin Monday and run through the end of the month. The larger meeting is for some reason scheduled for July 19, about 10 days shy of the moratorium’s halfway mark. The meetings are designed to maximize public input with personal invitations to select residents and second-home owners – those, as one city official put it, who wouldn’t otherwise be inclined to participate. The meeting moderators will be Leslie Lamont, a former Pitkin County commissioner, and Chris Gates, president of the National Civic League. The city is bending over backward to accommodate people who aren’t interested enough to participate on their own. At first glance, it appears the city is attempting to dilute the message of the White Shirts, the group Les Holst formed to press the city to put the brakes on growth, by soliciting people who don’t live here and disinterested residents.Personal invitations? A moderator from Denver? July 19?The fact is a concerned group of residents who represent the community well forced the City Council to adopt a moratorium. From Holst, a man who has been active in community affairs for decades, to Ann Wycoff, a more recent resident who spent years as a visitor and second-home owner before figuring how to make Aspen home. They are among the more active members of the White Shirts.Holst and Wycoff and the scores of people who are also protesting the tsunami of growth, represent exactly the kind of people the city should be listening to … concerned citizens who see a problem and act on it in a politically responsible way.Meanwhile, the stopwatch on the moratorium ticks away. Developers and a handful of residents are waiting for the ban to be lifted so they can get on with their plans. And a vocal, active citizenry is waiting for its elected officials to present solutions.People expect action from City Council in relatively short order. Unfortunately, council members can’t even agree on the problem, much less what should be done about it. Spending another five weeks adding to the chorus of confusion doesn’t make much sense.


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