Sit this one out, ACRA
Three of Aspen City Council’s five elected officials are against the Aspen Chamber Resort Association having a seat on the task force that will map out the Lift 1A side of Aspen Mountain. We agree.
It should come as no surprise that ACRA wants a say about one of downtown’s most contentious development issues of late. ACRA’s mission is to promote commerce in Aspen, and last fall it publicly supported developer Centurion Partners’ proposal to build the 80-room Lodge at Aspen Mountain, which also would have included fractional ownership units.
The City Council denied the project, prompting officials to discuss looking at the entire area in question through the lens of a COWOP (Convenience of the Welfare of the Public).
Among the members of the COWOP task force would be two members of the City Council (who have yet to be named), city officials, land owners, neighbors, Aspen Skiing Co. and the Aspen Historical Society, which wants a ski museum in the neighborhood.
All told, City Council is proposing the COWOP roster comprise 22 members. ACRA would like to have a voice, too, but we think the nonprofit does not belong there.
Our chief concern is that if ACRA wanted to be part of this COWOP process, what’s to stop it from being on any other?
Years ago, ACRA was part of the COWOP process for the visitors’ center, which voters ultimately rejected. But at the time, ACRA had a direct stake in the proposal because it would have operated the center.
As far as the current COWOP goes, however, ACRA’s tie is indirect at best; its mission to promote business could compromise the COWOP process. Besides, it’s no secret that other players on COWOP ” be them the Skico, Centurion Partners or Bob Daniel, who pulled his application for the 114,000-square-foot Lift One Lodge to participate in the COWOP ” will wave the same pro-business flag that ACRA wants to wield.
We also agree with Councilman Steve Skadron, who expressed concern that ACRA’s role as a special interest could distort the integrity of the COWOP.
ACRA certainly serves an important purpose in town, but we feel it serves the community best when it stays out of politics. This is one of those times when the community would better served if ACRA sat on the sidelines, and let the other parties sort it out.
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Colorado’s Legislature plowed ahead Tuesday on special session legislation to provide millions in limited state relief to businesses, students and others affected by the coronavirus pandemic.