Retain Ute Ave.’s unique character
We have owned a house in Aspen for over 20 years, first on Spring Street and, more recently, on Ute Avenue, directly across from the supposed back entrance to the Aspen Club. We moved here a few years ago to retreat a bit from the bustle of downtown activity, which we enjoy all the more with a 10-minute walk from our dead-end street.
While Aspen’s vibrant commercial center is, of course, the town’s life blood, our community’s health also relies on surrounding residential areas, each with its unique character and personality. To blur all that into one continuous, mixed-use hodgepodge would seriously erode the quality of life for all our residents and visitors. Expanding the Aspen Club by many dozens of timeshare slices and hundreds of parking spaces would do exactly that to Ute Avenue: permanently alter its residential nature for the worse.
As property owners and residents on the affected street, we obviously have a vested interest in the resolution of this issue. However, we would feel exactly the same if a similar encroachment were being proposed in any other part of town. Everyone who has lived in and loved Aspen for decades deserves the same consideration for preserving the quality of their neighborhoods.
Finally, there is a serious issue of fairness here. Rule changes and ordinance variances are being proposed that favor a commercial development to the detriment of all surrounding parties. Whatever civic contributions the Aspen Club has made (and they are many) and whatever the club’s profitability may be (unknown to all of us), they do not justify “changing the game” to enable permanently degrading the quality of life for neighboring residents. The club secured variances and permits once for its current business and is vastly overreaching by now going back to the well and asking for further exemptions to significantly expand its facilities beyond the original intent.
In the final analysis, Aspen is the sum of its many parts, and those parts each contribute to the whole in unique ways. They best do so by maintaining their individual identity, rather than being so intermingled as to render a bland, homogenous blend. We respectfully request City Council to uphold current zoning and to permit Ute Avenue to continue making its unique contribution to our community.
Sean and Amy Sebastian
Aspen and Sewickley, Pa.
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