The art of a bad deal
August 11, 2010
Big box has come to Aspen at Spring and Hyman streets, voted in by City Council on Monday, Aug. 2. A building that will change views of Aspen Mountain forever. The City Council thumbed its nose at Aspen voters and negated all of the land-use codes. The supposed reasoning was that there was a lawsuit that the city might lose, although it had already won the suit.
Four members embraced the big box with open arms. There was no discussion on parking issues, employee housing, roof lines, setbacks and other issues. Pity the poor retailers in the neighborhood. The City Council never acknowledged the voters’ concern in 2009 for an oversized misfit and their rejection of that project.
The wheels were well greased this time in secret meetings and other types of off-the-record meetings. Goodbye, Aspen, and welcome to the lawsuit of every builder who does not get his way. This is precedent-setting for the future of Aspen’s building requirements.
Why have elections, the land-use code, zoning codes and other requirements when a small group of people can arbitrarily select who gets a free pass or who has to go through the process of huge costs and frustration for many years?
This project is massive, ugly and one of the largest impacts on the ambiance of Aspen now and into the future. It sets precedent for future lawsuits, demands for building height, waiver of parking, and employee-housing requirements, to name a few.
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Incidentally, where will the money come from? We are experiencing reduced tax revenues and other massive projects demanding huge financial commitments from the city and others.