New survey on Aspenite attitudes is complete | AspenTimes.com
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New survey on Aspenite attitudes is complete

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Results of a recently completed citizen survey, designed to complement other surveys conducted in association with the 2011 Aspen Area Community Plan, doesn’t shed a whole lot of new light on the feelings and desires of Aspenites, one official said Monday.

During a City Council work session, Councilman Steve Skadron said he wasn’t in support of spending money on the additional survey when the effort was initiated last November, and now that the results are in, he feels the same way. At that time last fall, Mayor Mick Ireland was a proponent of commissioning a new survey as a way of attempting to reach renters, youths and others in the community he felt were underrepresented in previous surveys connected with the community plan.

As it turned out, the new survey, conducted by Design Workshop and mailed out in January, relies largely upon the same demographic as those that came before it: 55- to 64-year-old males who are full-time residents, having lived in the area for 21 or more years.

The new survey work has been cited by officials and city staffers as one of the reasons why the finish line for adopting the AACP was moved from April to this summer.

“The entire AACP process has gone on too long,” Skadron said during Monday’s work session. “I don’t believe the time and effort on this has returned to us a definitive tool for decision making.”

The survey, he said, “is not really telling us anything new.”

Ireland said the recently completed survey confirms what he called “Aspen schizophrenia.” Residents indicate a desire for one initiative, while at the same time calling for another goal that’s at odds with the other one. There also is a lot of polarity, with groups of citizens on extreme sides of an issue and few people in the middle.

For example, the survey identifies a large percentage of residents who believe Aspen should “preserve its small town character,” managing the city’s future growth. At the same time, a large percentage of the Aspen citizenry would prefer to “let the market decide” about what development occurs.

The survey was sent to 2,000 voters and 2,000 property owners in the Aspen area. The pollster received 530 valid surveys.

Other survey highlights, according to Design Workshop:

• Most respondents believe the city has failed to effectively manage traffic problems and economic development.

• Most respondents indicated a willingness to discourage the development of larger lodging units. And, they said new buildings should fit into their surroundings, but that downtown Aspen should be allowed to evolve past the Victorian era.

• Most respondents felt there was too much development activity during the 2005-06 construction boom. However, most were not in favor of a construction pacing system.

• Most respondents indicated that there should be flexibility in housing mitigation and that affordable housing should not be required to be on-site.

asalvail@aspentimes.com


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