Preserve our Victorian character |

Preserve our Victorian character

Dear Editor:

As mayor of Aspen, I want you to know that you have both my support and my respect. As a longtime resident of and contributor to the Aspen community, I would surely hope that I have your respect as well.

You may be aware that over the past several years I have survived two types of cancer, kidney failure and a kidney transplant. More recently, I spent two weeks in the hospital and on Wednesday I’m going back in to have my old kidneys removed. It is because of these current health issues that I have been unable to attend council meetings, as I would like to have done, and I have been unable to express my serious and immediate concerns about developers ruining our town.

In that regard, I must address the issue of the Wienerstube project. My feelings are simple: If you want to construct a building that is 42 feet high, please build it in Vail, not in Aspen. Step by painful step we have been destroying the quality of our beautiful village.

In the past, our city building codes have mandated that any new project must be under 27 feet. Such projects must provide all the off-street parking needed for tenants, employees, patrons and residents. In addition, businesses must provide adequate employee housing ” in town ” for any employees who are needed to operate these businesses. Sadly, in this process, we seem to have forgotten about the grass, the trees and our indigenous wildlife. It is incumbent upon us to keep our ecosystem in mind and to mandate adequate green space. We don’t live in NYC. We live in the mountains.

If developers can’t be consistent with these needs, then we don’t need them or their developments in Aspen.

How wonderful it would have been if, years ago, the town leaders and residents would have mandated that all the structures in the core city maintain a Victorian motif. Period motifs have worked well in historic places like Savannah, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; the Isle of Orleans, Quebec; Nantucket, Mass.; Central Heidelberg, Germany; the villages of Normandy, France; and countless other regions around the world. These locations serve as tourist attractions to an unending stream of visitors year-round. Similarly, in Aspen our Victorian construction adds to the flavor of our own unique ambiance. In the past several years, many fine examples of Victorians have been built in town. They are high quality structures that are in keeping with our unique Aspen atmosphere. An excellent example of such high quality construction for employee housing is 101 East Bleeker St. Clearly, it is both possible and imperative that we remain consistent with and retain our special character.

Please do not work deals with developers who are unwilling to change their plans to fit in with the scale of the surrounding neighborhoods. Paying “cash in lieu” instead of providing adequate employee housing and parking does not save the quality of our town.

Larry Rosenfield


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