Letter: Emphasize youth
In a recent public hearing on a matter approved by the Historic Preservation Committee, Mayor Steve Skadron asked me, “Scott, isn’t this what is wrong with Aspen?” I was blown away by the question; we followed every rule and complied with the code to the extent to be deemed “exceptional” and awarded 500 square feet as a bonus for that effort. My answer to the mayor was that what I thought is wrong with Aspen is there is a land-use code that does not reflect Aspen’s values. I also reminded him that it was he and the council who are in charge of the code and that no one, new guy or old-timer, should be chastised or ridiculed for following the code that the council has the authority over. The code should reflect what we want as a community; if it doesn’t, whose fault is that? I think the code should be amended to find ways to help Aspenites stay Aspenites, particularly those currently in affordable housing. Further, how do we inspire young Aspen adults to give up better opportunities out of town to live here? I think a good test of any policy is how it might inspire kids graduating from Aspen High School to come back after university (or stay after high school) and continue to make Aspen their home. How do we get more youth making this their home to create and foster a prosperous and successful multigenerational community of Aspenites? How do they do it? How can we help? What sets us apart from other “resorts” is we have a real community here. I think we have done good work on that front but need to do a lot more. I am for creating the means for locals to prosper and aspire to live here forever. How about you, Mr. Mayor? Unlike me, you are in the position to change the code.