Moratorium? What moratorium? | AspenTimes.com
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Moratorium? What moratorium?

Have you heard? Aspen has a moratorium on construction.Huh? Look left, right and center in this town and the most obvious things you’ll see are orange barrels, roadblocks, tape, and guys and gals in vests holding signs that say “Stop” on one side and “Slow” on the other. That chirping you hear is not the sound of songbirds but rather the warning beacons from trucks as they reverse direction after dropping or collecting a load of city street.The entrance to town has become a maze for outgoing traffic. Hopkins Avenue is a no-go zone, sidewalks are torn up all over the place. It sure looks like construction is on a tear to the average passerby.Well, clearly what we have, in the words of the late great Rod Steiger in the film “Cool Hand Luke,” is “a failure to communicate.” Yes, there is a moratorium in place, but it’s not on construction, it’s on paperwork. When the City Council passed an emergency ordinance (Ordinance 19, Series of 2006 in officialdom) on Tuesday, April 25, it ordered the Community Development Department to stop accepting any new land-use applications in the “Residential Multi-Family (R/MF), Residential/MultiFamily (R/MFA), Commercial Core (CC), Commercial (C-1), Service/Commercial/Industrial (S/C/I), Neighborhood Commercial (NC), Mixed Use (MU), Lodge (L), Commercial Lodge (CL), Lodge Overlay (LO), Lodge Preservation Overlay (LP) Zone Districts.” And that is a significant departure from Webster’s second definition of a moratorium, which is defined as a “suspension of activities.”So, no, Aspen does not have a moratorium on construction, which is as clear as day. Rather, we the citizens just can’t submit any new paperwork for six months until council has had a chance to figure out exactly what it wants Aspen to look like in the future.Frankly, I personally had no problem with the paperwork. It was the actual construction that I had hoped they would shut down for a while. Let the paper-pushers do their jobs, let the land-use pros submit their apps and their appeals for variances, let the copy places continue to line them up out the door.If it were a cessation of actual construction in the commercial core, the outlying areas, hell, all of Pitkin County, then that would have gotten me excited.Radical? Perhaps. But there seems to be the perception that the continued growth of this valley is the key to the continued growth of this valley – if there is not more here, we will wither as a community.I’ll bet the silver barons felt the same way in the 1880s.


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