Letter: Clark’s Market in jeopardy?
Clark’s Market in jeopardy?
Editor’s note: The following letter was written to members of Aspen City Council.
If you missed The Aspen Times editorial on March 7, 2008, please read it. The editorial blames developers, but the true blame is on the infill code that amended parking requirements that would effectively shut down Clark’s Market and City Market for higher and better uses of their parking lots.
City Council recognized the problem in 2008 and in effect agreed with The Aspen Times editorial by not approving the proposed development. The developer pressed pause. The problem was, and remains, the infill code reduced the parking requirement for the only two neighborhood commercial areas (City Market and Clark’s Market) to a point where an application, identical to the 2008 application, remains possible and next time the developer might press the city to accept the code as it existed in 2008 and remains today.
The Planning and Zoning Commission held a work session on March 26 to consider a code amendment that would reflect council’s 2008 decision to not approve a building in the Clark’s parking lot. The work session outcome was a suggestion to return the parking lots for the two grocery stores to pre-infill requirements. The logic was the same as Tom Clark presented to City Council — that without parking, his grocery store in Aspen would go out of business. The response from city staff was swift and strong as you will see in the attached May 13 staff memo.
For me, this is a question of aligning code, and therefore expectations, with actual outcomes. The code staff supports is not aligned with outcome of the 2008 council decision. The question for the community and our leaders is whether the code should be aligned with keeping parking for our neighborhood commercial zone (the two grocery stores) at the current level (as council decided in 2008 for Clark’s) or reducing the parking significantly (as staff’s memo vehemently supports as does infill and the current code). It shouldn’t take five-plus years to amend the code and Planning and Zoning shouldn’t be stonewalled by staff for attempting to align the code, and therefore expectations, with actual outcomes.
Something is very wrong here and it needs to be fixed.
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