Aspen Times endorsement: Yes vote on 2B for land exchange is no-brainer |

Aspen Times endorsement: Yes vote on 2B for land exchange is no-brainer

Aspen Times Editorial Board

Saying yes on ballot question 2B in this fall’s city of Aspen election is a no-brainer. Also known as the Pride of Aspen land exchanges, a yes vote on 2B is a vote for permanent conservation of a special piece of land.

We support the passage of 2B — giving 19.3 acres on Shadow Mountain to the public in a conservation easement at no cost to taxpayers in exchange for 4,000 square feet to a homeowner — for several reasons, namely that acquiring the property protects it from future development.

The city parks and open space department has been attempting for decades to secure the parcel but previous owners were resistant.

That is until now.

Bob Anderson, a developer who owns a home at 501 W. Hopkins Ave. located next to the Midland Trail, originally proposed the land exchange, which gives him 4,000 square feet of public-right-of-way around his property.

In exchange, the city parks department and Pitkin County’s open space program receive the old mining claim in perpetuity.

Olson wants better access and more landscaping on his property to soften the interface of the heavily used Little Cloud and Midland trails, along with the opportunity for a nominal amount of expansion (360 to 780 square feet, depending on the proposal and land use code regulations) to his 3,450-square-foot house.

The deal also allows for the city and county parks and open space departments to improve and realign recreational trails like the Little Cloud Trail, and perhaps add new ones.

The easement, which has been described as a scarf draped over the flanks of Shadow Mountain, is equal to 14 full city blocks and more than 210 times that of the land Olson stands to acquire.

This is a rare opportunity to accept a landowner’s offer for the public good. Say yes to less development and more recreational trails. Vote yes on ballot question 2B.

The Aspen Times editorial board is comprised of publisher Samantha Johnston, editor David Krause, managing editor Rick Carroll, reporters Scott Condon and Carolyn Sackariason and copy editor Sean Beckwith.