Aspen’s HPC should say no to high density development on small lots

Aspen’s foundation was built on preserving the environment and the character of Aspen. The Historic Preservation Commission was formed to protect and preserve our historic properties and City Council used to pride themselves on slow growth and low density. Big developers were considers “Outsiders” and viewed as dangerous, ugly wolves! City Council members were often referred to as “Tree Huggers” by the big developers back then.

Fast forward to Aspen today. Everywhere you look are mass developments and high density properties. What used to be quaint is falling way short. The current attitude driving Aspen today seems to be “bigger is better” and “the more we have of everything the better we will be!” Animosity in Aspen runs rapid with people blaming the rich for “Aspen’s not what it used to be” and/or “Aspen is changing for the worse.” In all fairness, Aspen is ruining Aspen.

Today, the city is considering a change to the code on lots restricted to single family/duplex to high density projects, including apartments, condos, employee housing, etc., on lots that are 4,500 square feet and less. Does Aspen not see that by smashing more high density projects on these lots and continuing to cut down trees, take away yards, etc., that it is further destroying the charm our forefathers fought for and tried to protect? (Regardless of who occupies the units.)

Do we really need the billionaire developers turning our streets into apartment/condo alley? Forcing Aspen to build more parking garages for all the full-time cars? Will these projects add at all to the quality of life for those already here? Will smashing in more multi-unit apartments be anything Aspen will look back on 20 years from now and be proud of? Are the decisions being made today, at risk of changing the face of Aspen to more closely resemble that of Vail? I ask our elected officials to keep our forefathers vision for Aspen on the forefront, stop the insanity and say “no” to more high density development on small lots!

Gretchen Simmen