Sympathizing with Cliff
May 6, 2002
I don’t know if Cliff Weiss will take any comfort, but I do sympathize with his situation.
If the new Entrance to Aspen were to go directly over his home, he would be fully compensated and could acquire a comparable property.
Because the new highway will be placed on an easement in front of his home, Cliff will probably not receive any compensation whatsoever, even though his property values and living situation will obviously be diminished. I have always considered this an unacceptable consequence of the new entrance, but can’t do much to change the law.
The net effect of the realignment will benefit the greatest number of people as the traffic volumes are removed from the doorstep of dozens of property owners along the current alignment, but the new burden placed upon the few is clearly unfair.
I believe the city of Aspen should do the right thing, regardless of their legal obligations, and offer all affected property owners the same deal. The city should buy the properties at their current value, resell them as affordable housing (or use the sites for new housing development), and make up the difference from their housing fund.
Achieving two objectives with the same dollar is always a bargain.
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