October 9, 2007
After inventing atomic energy, Einstein (tongue in cheek) remarked the greatest achievement of mankind was that of compound interest. He was saying greed will rule the course of our civilization, not the third law of thermodynamics (E=MC2) or other advances in science.
What could be the motive? Plunder a nice spot and move on. It’s happened all around the country. Towns neighboring gangbuster communities (Aspen) have overbuilt trying to capitalize on high prices next door.
Basalt used to look like Minturn so many years ago. Now there is one megalopolis from Vail Pass to Eagle. It’s ugly, and Vail has lost its cachet. The same thing will happen here. As neighboring cities begin to abut the boundaries of Aspen, it will loose its appeal and value as will the homes that surround it (i.e. here in Basalt).
Let Carbondale or Rifle expand; Basalt is too close to Aspen. (Frankly, it is its suburb.) The local Basalt government is about to shoot itself in the foot.
If an example is needed, look at Kissimmee, surrounding Disneyland in Florida: wall-to-wall T-shirt shops and attendant riffraff.
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I served on the Wabasso Corridor Commission outside Vero Beach, Fla., a community not unlike Aspen in demographics. We halted excessive growth by stipulating setbacks, berms, roof lines, building heights, buffer foliage, etc.
Make the valley look like Vail, and the gazillion jets at Aspen’s airport will be looking for hangar space (probably soon to come here) in Sun Valley or other more pristine ski country.
Perhaps Aspen and Pitkin government should give it some thought and make input to Basalt town government. The downside of excessive, unproven need for megagrowth will deal a blow to the valley, which will begin to look like Lake Tahoe (pristine nascent beauty turned to high-density yuck and falling real estate prices in the blink of an eye).
Basalt is without industry other than vacation and service. Only so much square footage is needed. The developers will go bust or make their profits, move on and leave an eyesore. I’ll leave it to the wisdom the developers.
Just my opinion.
Steven H. Lewis