Marolt: The night before Christmas and all through the plans — redlines! | AspenTimes.com

Marolt: The night before Christmas and all through the plans — redlines!

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic

Roger Marolt

So what? What's the difference? Who cares? More importantly, what do you care?

These not-so-difficult times call for complacency. Do not ask what you can do for Base Village but rather what Base Village can do for you!

It's almost impossible to fathom what is going in the cavernous chambers of what is collectively the brain cavity of the Base Village developer/applicant/beggar, be it Related Whatever Amalgamated Inc. LLC or East West Partners.

It hasn't been but a few months since Related announced East West as its successor in this mess subject to the approval of its vesting-rights extension. Remember? We, the village people, were assured that East West was anxious to get in here and get going. All it was asking for was a simple extension of the current vesting rights to give it a little comfort that it would not have to come in and submit a major application amendment or begin the process from scratch.

So, I hope I am not the only resident curious as to why East West has submitted, at the last minute possible, what amounts to major changes to the Base Village master plan. Perhaps it got its Christmas list mixed up with the submission. It amounts to a gargantuan overhaul of our agreement. East West wants taller buildings. It wants bigger buildings. It wants altered designs and functions. It has turned the community-benefits portion of the application into the promise of a domesticated unicorn. And it needs our approval yesterday.

What East West is really saying is that we need to cave and cave now so it has our consent to sit around for another five years while it waits for the market to turn around even more and then get working on finishing Base Village, probably after needing to ask for yet another extension of its vesting rights, which are likely to need further modification at that time.

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How do I know this? Because history repeats itself in front of those who aren't paying attention. Am I talking about us? Let me answer that indirectly: How many times have we been through this scenario before? Let's count. It began with Aspen Skiing Co.'s initial application. Then we had to roll over when the whole shebang was transferred to the liars at Intrawest. After that, we have been held hostage by the blowhards at Related. Now we are asked to collapse in deference to Eager Beaver Creekers to keep this thing from going south.

I hate to state the obvious, but this thing is as far south as it can go without flattening Mount Daly. And what do we have to show for our weakness? Nothing! But the beauty of being dragged through the ringer so often over such a long period is that we are comfortable with it. Finally, this plays in our favor. We are used to what Base Village is and has been for a decade. Haven't we all adjusted our lives around this nothingness? We've got our jobs. We've got our recreation opportunities. We have our neighbors and friends. The snow still falls, and the tourists come. What more do we need?

It is a wonderful and empowering feeling to know that we really don't need the completion of Base Village to realize our meaningful existence in the village. Sure, it would be nice if they finished it someday, but what's the rush?

The bottom line is we really do hold every single ace in this hand. The East West Related Amalgamated Whatever Co. Inc. LLC partnership has a couple of jokers, at best. It can do nothing without us. We can continue to live our current productive, healthy, fulfilling lives whether it ever lifts another shovel of dirt out of its hole or not. You want proof? Look around. We have proved this conclusively over the past 10 years!

So, I say to tell East West Related Amalgamated to stuff all of its proposed amendments in its own Christmas stocking, because Santa Claus ain't coming this year and, if it leaves it up to us, it is going to be the big ol' lump of coal it'll get for its behavior here.

Our best hope is to beat it at its own game, to outlast it in inactivity. When, and only when, it wakes up first and decides to sell the whole project at a 75 percent discount will a reasonable developer be able to come in and finish this project quickly and on the scale we'll barely notice.

Roger Marolt remembers when the night before Christmas was full of sugar plums and fairies danced in our heads instead of developer alteration demands. Email roger@maroltllp.com.