Raise money for housing, while you’re at it | AspenTimes.com

Raise money for housing, while you’re at it

Dear Editor:

I am perplexed. The county commissioners are allowing the Aspen Music School many variances and exceptions to the land-use code for the rezoning from agriculture to institutional for a maximum build-out of the land located at Aspen Country Day School to expand its facilities.

Yet the county commissioners are not requiring the music school to address the shortage of about 500 beds that the music school currently needs for its operations.

While the development is in the county, the shortfalls of housing are going to become a burden on the city of Aspen. The music school already has use of two city owned properties for its summer needs … seasonal Burlingame and seasonal Marolt.

The music school represented to the county commissioners that it was in negotiations with the city of Aspen to build a third story on Marolt seasonal housing, be a partner in BMC West and the new land purchase at Castle Creek. Yet the city has not undertaken any negotiations involving these land parcels with anyone.

The city did try to involve the music school in talks about becoming a partner in redevelopment of the Marolt seasonal housing, but with not much cooperation from the music school, the city has reached out to other groups who are proactive and sincere in addressing their housing needs.

Why isn’t the county addressing the shortage of music school beds by requiring a condition in the land-use approval that the music school work in earnest cooperation with the city of Aspen and other partners to develop, as best as it can, the number of beds needed?

The music school is undertaking a huge fundraising drive for its campus expansion. … Wouldn’t it be just as easy to secure the needed funding for housing as part of the fundraising campaign?

The land-use application would not be held up as the commissioners could approve the application with the condition that housing and bed needs be addressed as realistically as possible.

Teamwork is needed. We need the county commissioners to not let this opportunity to develop more housing slip by without a commitment from the music school. Do we really think the music school is going to carry the torch for affordable housing for its students on its own? The music school has been in Aspen for almost 50 years. Every summer, 500 students, facility, administrators and staff are without dedicated housing? Is this the image Aspen and Pitkin County want to deal with for the next 50 years?

Toni Kronberg


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