Not for rent
Dear Editor:Because I agree with both F. Scott Fitzgerald, author, and Rich Wagar, Realtor, I can’t support the basic premise of the city’s current infill legislation.The latest infill approval, Boomerang II, was predicated on the idea that condominium units will serve as lodge rooms once did to serve short-term visitors because the code requires them to be “only” 500 square feet.I respect Sunny Vann for his argument that a $1 million condo will be rented out since owners won’t want to maintain an “under performing” asset.But Wagar recapitulated the famous Fitzgerald quote – “The rich are different” (“The Rich Boy,” 1926) when he noted that for these people:”It’s just a drop in the bucket, cashwise – they can afford to write the check,” he said. “It’s hard to put it in perspective. It’s a little like you or me buying a sweater. You don’t take out a loan to buy a sweater.”In other words, as Fitzgerald put it, the rich are different. A 500-square-foot condo, about the size of my affordable unit, is a perk to be enjoyed, not an “underperforming asset” to be put to work as a home to visiting volleyball players, rugby fans and other entry level Aspen visitors.Witness the West End: the second, third or fourth homes may be small and cute but they aren’t for rent very often even though the neighborhood is so empty that even a 10-year-old knows it’s not worth scouting for candy on Halloween.Like the condos, our West End could be part of a “voluntary rental pool.” It isn’t, by and large, for the same reason I don’t rent out any of my four bicycles just because they were, relative to my finances, a substantial investment. I want them available when I want them and condo owners want to come to Aspen when the mood so strikes.Infill may make real estate sales “sizzle” but it isn’t because the beds are “hot.” I believe we need to rethink the idea that waiving code requirements and providing incentives for condos is not going to restore vitality to Aspen.Mick Ireland Aspen
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