Think of your legacy
When the original Lodge at Aspen Mountain project first came before council for a vote, Andrew Kole stated during the public comment segment of the meeting, “I have only one thing to say; beware of variances.”
This caveat is even more critical now as we are facing a gargantuan redevelopment of the Lift One area. Zoning codes and community plans are already in place. Why doesn’t council uphold them?
If the Lift One proposal passes, Aspen will lose an undetermined amount of public land as well as historic views of the mountain from town. One of the assets that makes Aspen so unique is that our mountain comes right into the town. However, the view of this gorgeous mountain is steadily being blocked by the alleged need for “hot beds.”
The Limelight, albeit a handsome building, would not have eliminated public views of Shadow Mountain if it were one story lower. What about the new section of the Dancing Bear; more of the mountain cut from sight. And the Fort at Aspen (a.k.a. The Residences at the Little Nell)? All these projects required numerous variances because the developers always cited they couldn’t make enough money to continue without them. Please! The sale of just two of the penthouses at the Limelight ($30 million) made this an extremely profitable project.
A former council member, who voted in favor of the Residences, recently said he had no idea, from the architectural renderings, how massive the structure would actually be. It is also difficult to imagine how gigantic the Lift One proposal will appear from town; 300,000 square feet of huge buildings cutting off the view of our historic ski slopes.
We are not living in the past; we know this area will have something built on it, but why can’t it be more appropriate to the area and the town and follow the existing land-use codes and community development guidelines? The Little Nell Hotel is a treasure in this town; it looks beautiful from the street and the mountain. A group of Little Nell-type buildings would be a real asset to this area.
We know COWOP spent many hours to develop the best plan they could all agree on. There seems to be a lot of sentiment to support this plan simply because COWOP worked so hard. This was a volunteer committee. There are hundreds and hundreds of volunteers in our valley. We do the work out of commitment, not because we think we will “win.” COWOP made recommendations; they are recommendations only to be accepted or rejected by council.
We are all aware how greed and lack of oversight and good judgment has recently impacted our country. Council, do you want your legacy to be that you caved into developers’ demands or do you want it to be that you protected this special place and waited for an appropriate and acceptable proposal?
Anne and Clarence Blackwell
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