Letter: A great week for Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Letter: A great week for Aspen

For some time now I have been asking the City Council to exert leadership over city staff. I have advocated the council to lead staff in a course consistent with the will of the people as expressed via the ballot box. I had been frustrated by an apparent pro-development and urbanization direction when approximately 65 percent of the voters wanted the opposite. Multiple developments were approved with significant variances allowing more mass and height, decreasing the amount of employee-housing mitigation and not requiring parking on sites. In two days, all of this seems to have changed.

Mark Hunt’s team missed a deadline and came to the council for reinstatement of Base1 without any of the variances that the council had granted last year. What is not to like about that? I called it Christmas in March. Go for it, Mark!

At that same meeting, an emergency ordinance was introduced to the shock and awe of most present on Monday night. Ordinance 7 called for a moratorium on developments in the core. I read it and read it again. My jaw dropped. Could this really be? It was, and it has been adopted.

The council has set its No. 2 goal for this year to bring the Aspen Area Community Plan and the land-use code into harmony. Ordinance 7 buys the city time. Some have argued that an emergency ordinance is incorrect usage in this case. There is that argument to be made. I will not join in on that one.

I have privately to the council and publicly expressed my view that the discussions of the Aspen Area Community Plan and the land-use code should be in an unbiased venue with a neutral moderator. I believe the city is in the process of employing outside consultants to aid in the discussion. Stay tuned.

I have been critical of the council in the past. I must now express my appreciation for the leadership and good works manifested in the actions of the past week. I also want to express my good will toward Hunt and his team. The stars and planets have aligned to what I feel is the benefit of Aspen. Chapeau, Steve, Ann, Adam, Art and Bert.

Ward Hauenstein


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