Letter: Reject the Tree Farm preliminary plan | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Reject the Tree Farm preliminary plan

I’m asking the Midvalley Planning Commission to reject the Tree Farm preliminary plan. My basis for this request is as follows:

1. It exceeds the original sketch-plan approvals by almost 60,000 square feet and is a completely different project from what was originally approved at that time. There is no cap on commercial square footages, and the current plan will steal businesses from our other shopping areas. Essentially, this proposed development will cannibalize our downtown and the Willits shopping districts.

2. The amount of affordable residential housing in the project has been reduced by 83 units. The developer is exacerbating the affordable-housing crisis in the midvalley.

3. It creates a false economic argument that says, “Growth pays for itself in the short term.” The Tree Farm developer is asking that the residents and businesses pay for all of the necessary infrastructure improvements that his project requires. The developer is taking infrastructure costs off his balance sheet and passing them back to the taxpayer.

4. It creates a second false economic argument that says, “Growth pays for itself in the long term.” The developer is not paying for needed improvements in the beginning and is not required to set aside money to pay for the long-term maintenance of all the intersections, underpasses and roads that will lead to and from the site. The developer isn’t paying to maintain the infrastructure that the project requires in order for it to be viable in the long term.

Growth has a mystical power to confuse us into thinking that the community is getting something for free. That’s not the case and never has been.

Jacque Whitsitt

Mayor, town of Basalt