Letter: Adopt a new land-use code
There are a lot of areas that can accommodate unlimited growth. Those areas have open lands where development can expand into and where roads can be built to serve the growth. The simple fact is that Aspen is not one of those areas.
We have geographic limitations and surrounding public lands that prohibit development. There is only one way a road can come in, and that road is way beyond capacity and has been for years, with no solution in sight. There is no convenient vacant developable land available. The existing parking areas are full every day and there is no land for additional parking. And yet our town officials seem to constantly approve the replacement of existing buildings with larger and higher ones, creating a demand for more housing, more traffic and more parking, which realistically cannot be accomplished. Wealthy investors are buying old buildings at absurd prices, making their purchases only viable if they can tear down what they bought and replace it with a larger building, often requiring adding height and adversely affecting the character of the area.
As I read recently, the city recently approved hiring consultants to review our land-use codes. More money wasted to promote growth.
Aspen is a very special place. We can preserve it or ruin it. We can compromise it by permitting growth, which by its very nature will ruin its character, or we can cherish it and protect it. We can keep it a treasured paradise or make it a congested miniature Manhattan.
I believe we need to stop any additional growth. There simply is no room for it, no infrastructure for it and no place for it here. I am all for upgrading old homes and buildings with newer improvements consistent with the character of the town. But to preserve what we have, I believe no building should be approved that increases the square footage of what was previously existing. Upgrading is fine, but adding any additional building areas will only adversely affect our lifestyle. If anything, reducing square footage should be encouraged. I call upon our city officials to adopt a code that prohibits any improvements or new buildings with more square footage than currently exists.
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