Letter: Throwing good money after bad | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Throwing good money after bad

Throwing good money after bad

In response to the article on housing mitigation (“City to fund housing mitigation study,” Jan. 7, The Aspen Times) and the following passage: ‘“Every day that goes by, we’re taking in substantially less than we should be,” Community Development Director Chris Bendon said.’

Really? Is the sole purpose of housing mitigation to raise more money to pay for the $100 million-plus Burlingame development? Judging from the work session Monday night (open to the public but not to public comment), those were the marching orders as staff understood them — “find us more money,” and the options staff presented were certainly creative money-makers.

Is that really the intent of employee housing? Is it supposed to squeeze those who can create jobs to the point they downsize?

But, if making more money is what we need to do, I understand there are a few unsold units in Burlingame and in my limited experience, if something isn’t selling it’s because there is something missing with what you’re trying to sell. Maybe if all that imagination and resourcefulness could be used to rethink the residential requirements of employee housing, those units might sell and raise a little cash.

In Monday night’s work session it was asked (thank you, Councilman Romero) what progress had been made since the last public meetings on housing mitigation, and the response was, “We were asked to take a step back.”

Wonderful, I’d love it if we would all take a step back and think.

The question still hangs in the smoke: What would $100,000,000 have done for social programs for Aspen? For seniors? For schools? For homeless? For all those “soft” programs which don’t involve construction contracts and only target community welfare? Has this strategy controlled growth? Reduced free-market costs? Reduced commuter traffic? Reduced downvalley construction? Has it benefitted local free-market rentals? Has employee housing kept our “cat may look at a king” demographic?

How can this system be working when Aspen Skiing Co. builds its employee housing in El Jebel and we have (according to the Monday work session) more than 175 accessory dwelling units unrented inside the city limits of Aspen? (Thank you, Mayor Skadron, for pointing to the ADUs.)

If we keep throwing money down the trench that is Burlingame, is it really benefitting the community or is it just supporting a bureaucracy supporting itself?

Ziska Childs