Hauenstein and Torre are on people’s side | AspenTimes.com

Hauenstein and Torre are on people’s side

Are we Aspen or are we Vail, a community or a commodity?

Four years ago, we were, as always, desperate for candidates to City Council who represented slow, sustainable growth tied to our valley’s carrying capacity. A number of us asked Art Daily and Ann Mullins to run. They each came to well-attended neighborhood coffees at our homes. Both expressed, as they did at public meetings, profound concerns over construction disruptions, growth, traffic and the need for mass and scale rezoning in our code. They won big.

Ann and Art are honorable people. They seemed to do their homework. But we watched Grassroots TV with growing alarm. While neither ever instigated new programs or ideas, vote after vote, development application after application, they approved everything larger, bigger, more, giving exceptions, granting variances. This became so flagrant that we citizens twice took council’s decisions to the ballot and reversed their mistakes.

We thought they were finally listening (especially in light of the coming election) when recently they capped most development to 28 feet. But then they immediately granted an unnecessary height variance to the Hotel Aspen on Main Street. They talk softly and seem to be reasonable, but vote for growth. There now stands a million-plus-square-feet backlog of unstarted building approvals, with more to come in the pipeline.

Besides clogged streets, lack of housing, endless scrape-and-replace construction, and diminished parking, what did the people get? We got traffic, congestion and an empty Little Annie’s, Crystal Palace and Cooper Street Pier. We know what the developers got. This must stop, starting with the top-of-Aspen-Street, Gorsuch megaplotz.

Will Art and Ann change? Doubtful. Vote for Torre and Ward Hauenstein, who have promised and demonstrated they’re on the people’s side.

Michael Behrendt