Letter: Only if it’s for the good of Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Only if it’s for the good of Aspen

Only if it’s for the good of Aspen

I’d like to address the petition being circulated to place a ballot question to refer variance-allowance approvals to the voters. Not necessarily new, it is modeled after the recent legislation that passed in Telluride. Our two mountain resort communities face similar challenges due to development desirability. In Aspen, it is estimated that 75 percent of downtown commercial properties are owned by four companies. I have signed the petition and I am still reaching out and taking signatures. This petition does not change the laws, it will just place a question on this May 5 ballot for voters to decide.

My goal in supporting this legislation is to bring long overdue code changes that will better represent the community and provide a clearer path for developers and builders. Yes, I do believe there is an achievable, balanced land-use and design code that respects Aspen history and character and allows for viable, positive development.

Asking for relief, or variances, has become the norm instead of the exception for exceptional projects. The community and developers need to rely on the code. Right now, three councilmen decide what trade-offs they would make with each applicant. With the right changes to the code, which we will talk about in coming weeks, we will see fewer variance requests, and those that come through that truly are a benefit to Aspen, the voters will accept.



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