Aspen needs a movement, not more development |

Aspen needs a movement, not more development

In the face of so much advocacy in Aspen for “change” (a code word that means development) — along with the false construct that if you care about the environment, community character or even some semblance of a normal town, you have some sort of personality disorder — it’s interesting to see so many familiar folks recently writing letters to the editor, including even columnists, who’d previously argued for “change,” dialing it back.

Hey! We need a real town, they now write. 

Sure, it’s difficult to take back a hard sell for some of these people who advocated for backcountry development, base area ski development and hotel development without adequate mitigation, etc. (particularly if they/their significant others were paid for it). Unfortunately, there’s no contrition by some of these folks, but perhaps there is some hope that these former advocates for “change” might now alter their perspectives regarding the future and help advocate a better way forward. 

We don’t need to develop the backcountry, we don’t need more hotels, we don’t need to expand the airport (just improve it), and we don’t need more high-end restaurants. We don’t need any more development than already approved (which is massive) — period. The affordable housing issue is more complicated, particularly due to the longstanding failure to require onsite mitigation units for commercial development in Aspen, along with decades of inadequate mitigation fees and other freebies. 

Our future isn’t hopeless. Indeed, some of the recent letters and columns indicate a mounting sense of responsibility to fix what has gone wrong. It will take a village (or, here, a city and a county) to chart a better course for Aspen and Pitkin County. The critical element will be electing people to the Board of County Commissioners and Aspen City Council who will actually get the job done. 

Marcella Larsen