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Twisting the truth

(This was addressed as an open letter to Citizens for Responsible Growth.)

Your group, in its printed newspaper ads, has stooped to big, sleazy city-election tactics of half-truths, twisted statements, and out and out lies. Your ad published in the Feb. 25 edition of the Snowmass Sun and other papers, entitled “Is this what you want for Snowmass Village?” is just such an ad.

The “after” simulation, which you used to emphasize that the mountain view will be obstructed, contains building 6, right in the middle of the picture, substantially obstructing the view of the mountain. You know, because one of your members attended the Jan. 5 council meeting, that the applicant has completely modified the size that building, down to two stories, no longer causing it to obstruct the view.

You further know that this particular simulation is no longer representative, because you have changed the simulation you used in the ad appearing in the March 2 Aspen Times. Your use of an outdated, inapplicable-since-Jan. 5, 2004, simulation is, in my opinion, intentionally misleading and reprehensible.

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Additionally, your February ad states that “A ‘required’ element from the Town’s Comprehensive Plan is ‘maintenance of the views of the ski area from Brush Creek Road.'” I defy you to cite me the section where the comprehensive plan states that such is “required.”

You know, or certainly should know, that the discussion of preservation of the ski area view is contained in Chapter 6 of the Comprehensive Plan on pages 15 and 16. It states that the “preferred” plan for the town core (base village) is the “preservation of the ski area view from Brush Creek Road.” Preferred is a far cry from “required,” as you and your group are continually misstating.

Finally, the language you quote is from section 16A-3-40(6)(d)(1) of the land use code. It provides, as far as base village is concerned, that certain elements “shall be accommodated,” one of which, at sub-paragraph (g) is “maintenance of views of the ski area from Brush Creek Road.” Again, “accommodate” is a far cry from “required.”

Your deception continues in your March 2 ad. There, you state that “Structures should not overwhelm our connection to the mountain environment. Avoid the monumental. Avoid the ‘wall’ effect.” You attribute this language to the land use code, which, if it were true, would be from a regulatory document. Wrong and misleading again!

The language you quote is found in Chapter 6 of the comprehensive plan on pages 19 and 20, not the land use code. The comprehensive plan is not a regulatory document, contrary to your misrepresentation. Finally, you ran the three concepts together, to make it seem that they are one section. In fact, they are parts of three separate sections, each taken out of the context in which the people of this community adopted them.

Finally, you again tout the passage of the initiative as somehow securing a “smaller Base Village,” when you know that this ordinance, if passed by the voters, will have no effect on Base Village.

If we are going to carry on an honest debate of the merits of your initiative, let’s do so based upon what is fact, rather than upon the fiction that you dream up because it suits your cause, which you then foist upon an innocent public, as fact. People trust you to tell the truth, and believe what you say. At least have the decency to respect that trust and not distort or misstate the truth to suit your purpose.

Arnie Mordkin

Snowmass Village town councilman


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