Letter: Why the Gorsuch Haus project threatens Aspen
I have visited Aspen with my family consistently for 25 years and have owned a home there for the past 13 years. I’m hard-pressed to say whether I love it more in the summer or winter. I have skied elsewhere from time to time and have traveled extensively, but as your readers know, Aspen’s character is unique.
Such character arose through a happy confluence of events, both natural and human-made, some intended and some fortuitous. But preserving Aspen’s character takes care and diligence.
The area where the Gorsuch Haus promoters intend to build a massive hotel and retail facility is zoned for “conservation.” That word alone should raise red flags as to any such development. The project seeks to rezone the area from conservation to “ski-area base,” which conveniently has no dimensional limits and is not subject to Aspen’s voter-referral requirements adopted with the passage of Referendum 1.
Essentially, the Gorsuch Haus project seeks something far more radical than mere variances in building limitations; it seeks complete escape from existing zoning requirements. Among other things, the project would overwhelm South Aspen Street with increased traffic without providing an adequate turnaround area, would move Lift 1A about 150 feet farther up the mountain and would virtually privatize use of Lift 1A for guests of Gorsuch Haus, as access for everyone else would be much more difficult. Most of all, it would impose a visual mass that would further encroach on the natural beauty surrounding the city. This surrounding belt is zoned conservation for a reason; once it’s lost, it will be almost impossible to restore.
Lift 1A can be modernized and enhanced without need of approving a project like Gorsuch Haus. The project is not in the interests of Aspen’s residents.
Larchmont, New York
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