Stop the digging?
November 8, 2005
Consider these projects that currently are in progress, upcoming or on the drawing board, and imagine what it would be like – in terms of traffic, discombobulation and noise – if we could wave a magic wand and make them disappear.Skiers ChaletLimeliteHyatt Grand AspenShadow MountainLa CocinaChart HouseAspen ManorHolland HouseMother LodeLittle NellMiddle schoolSky HotelBoomerang LodgeCooper Street PierInnsbruckLodge at Aspen MountainBurlingameObermeyerAspen ClubBase VillagePlus whatever I left out and all the demolitions, “historic” renovations, new holes, additions and buildings going up (and down) all over town.Wouldn’t that be sweet? In the absence of all the cement-mixers, dump trucks, cranes, bulldozers, construction crews, stone-chippers and swarms of worker bees needed to erect these buildings, and later to service them, most of our self-inflicted housing and traffic problems would disappear.Now imagine the public outcry if a “no-dig” moratorium were imposed. What we have brought upon ourselves is an economy that feeds upon more and more building, more and higher real estate sales and more and more workers to keep the wheels turning. A dichotomy, Aspen style: We hate the way we’re heading but are afraid to step on the brakes because life is profitable here in Fat City.I think we could start by requiring all developers to house 100 percent of the employees generated by their projects – not 60 percent. And to replace 100 percent of the employee units destroyed by their projects, not 50 percent. And to allow no exemptions to our building codes. If the code says 40 feet high is the limit, that doesn’t mean 40 feet plus 6 inches, or 50 feet.A drop in the bucket, but look what’s happening to us in the name of the Aspen Community Plan!Su Lum is a longtime local who thinks we are screwed. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.