Letter: Make development pay its own way | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Make development pay its own way

Let’s elect a slate of candidates who will initiate change in making development pay its own way and maintaining community values Aspen’s residents want to preserve.

Last year, a majority of the City Council voted to do away with all or most of the requirements for parking, affording-housing mitigation and height and mass on commercial lodging and condominium tear-downs. This favors developers entirely, leaving taxpayers to mitigate for parking, housing needs, loss of views and Aspen’s small-town character. As Mick Ireland has said, growth should pay its own way when the public is always on the losing side.

The council makes the rules and should follow them for city projects and private development. If the rules aren’t adequate, then change the rules, but stop encouraging speculative investment that depends on the council bending the rules and moving the goalposts one property at a time.

Now we have a proposal for city government offices to build 70,000 square feet on the former Galena Plaza public park. We should be an example of a sustainable community. Just because the city’s budget is bulging does not mean we should spend. As Mick has said, reuse what we have, consolidate where possible, and build only what is needed. The armory building should be expanded below grade and into the adjoining park for additional offices, with an upgrade made to the present City Hall building. No need to build in a profligate manner.

Last year, this council initiated Ordinance 19, the lodging ordinance aimed at incentivizing developers with four-story buildings, relieving them of having to pay for their impacts and providing them with $5 million to $10 million in permit-fee waivers. We need to have growth pay its own way, and the only way is to elect a slate of new councilmen who will make it happen.

It is clear that the candidates who speak out for change are Bert Myrin, Mick Ireland and Torre for mayor. For better management of City Hall, and with a “yes” vote on Referendum 1, these three candidates will make it all happen. Let’s vote for Bert, Mick, Torre and a “yes” on Referendum 1.

Junee Kirk


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