Which lodge is best?

(This letter was originally addressed to Aspen’s City Council.)Dear Editor:As a registered voter, I’ve watched with dismay all the hours spent on considering the Lodge at Aspen Mountain application.Finally, it appears to be reaching a climax. But is it possible that the council may not be considering the right issue?It seems to me that the council needs to think of BOTH the Lodge at Aspen Mountain (LAM) project AND the more recently announced Lift One Lodge project simultaneously.If both projects win approval, the City will, after an unacceptably lengthy period of construction, have not one but two very large hotel projects so close to each other that they might as well be one!But that one hotel will – extrapolating from Mayor Ireland’s calculations for LAM alone – be equivalent in size to some 18 Pitkin County Courthouses! Moreover, the combined projects will in all probability create upwards of 10,000 truckloads of dirt removal!Clearly we need some new hotel rooms. But just how many? Do we really need close to 200 hotel or hotel-like rooms being proposed by the combined projects? Must we really put up with the extended construction impact added to the burden we already tolerate? Do we really want the additional traffic that this will create? In short, wouldn’t this high concentration of hotel rooms by the combined projects damage the quality of life as we know it in Aspen?OK, what should Aspen do?I think it would be terribly wrong to allow both of these projects to be built. But it would also be wrong to build neither! Therefore you should choose to approve one or the other, but clearly not both.I think you should approve LAM.Here’s why: LAM – but not LOL – is a “real” hotel with the vibrancy, availability, public function facilities and amenities that a genuine hotel provides. LOL, a timeshare condominium does not provide these advantages.LAM has offered to fund snowmelting on South Aspen Street as well as a new lift whether or not LOL goes forward. All LOL offered was to split these costs – a deal for LAM but not for the city!LAM offers benefits to the city like vocational training for young people, and financial as well as personnel contributions to nonprofits.I think these differences make LAM a far more attractive addition to our community.Whatever you decide, council members, I truly appreciate your dedication to the greater good of our town.Nicole DenholmAspen