Ordinance 30 patently wrong
October 22, 2007
A storm is brewing over Ordinance 30, which the City Council has recently passed. It potentially restricts remodeling or reconstructing homes and buildings more than 30 years old. If allowed to stand, this ordinance will dramatically and negatively affect the value of, oh so, many properties.
The concept is to declare that these buildings have historic value. If one examines which buildings are included within the city of Aspen, it would seem like some sort of political joke.
Surely the council meant well in its action; they may not have foreseen the ramifications of such a regulation. If it stands, many, many homeowners will have lost their only or greatest asset. For some, it will be the elimination of their planned retirement funds. That unfairness cannot be allowed to remain.
Possibly the plan was to find ways to provide affordable housing for local employees. That is a noble objective. We do have to find ways to accomplish this, but certainly not at the expense of an arbitrarily selected group.
The legal concept for this action is called “inverse condemnation.” The way a lawyer recently explained it is, the governing authority saying, “We haven’t taken your property, we have just stolen your value.” Surely our Aspen City Council people do not want that type of label attached to their names. They will act responsibly and reconsider the ultimate unfairness it will cause.
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Yes, we must find options to provide affordable housing for the workers who are an integral part of making Aspen so great. Ordinance 30 is patently wrong, so it is not the answer. Our City Council’s ingenuity will develop a solution.