Letter: Wrong about proposed development

In response to Jay Maytin’s letter regarding the Base2 lodge (“Base2 lodge fits in the Main Street Historic District,” The Aspen Times, Oct. 9), the lodge is absolutely not “positioned consistently with (many) other like developments in the Main Street Historic District.” It is not anything like the Sardy House, for instance, or the Floradora, for example, or the series of small miners’ houses in the 200 block of East Main Street, where Tulio’s is located, or the Explore Booksellers property.

But more to the point, I built the property know as 200 E. Main, which served as the location for my business, The Fleisher Co., from 1991 (the year of construction) through 2004. I complied with a all substantive Historic Preservation Commission requirements in place at the time: to be a design consistent with “turn-of-the-century style of residential Victorian architecture.” That meant everything from setbacks to location of sidewalks with a traditional landscaped strip between curb and sidewalk to double-hung vertical windows to roof pitch, which were all included in the not-so-short list of requirements. In addition, we were able to comply with on-site employee housing and parking — all with no variances or waivers.

At times, complying with the process was frustrating, but I was quick to acknowledge in the end that the process resulted in a better project, an office building that my partner and I loved.

The Base2 lodge does not mirror all commercial buildings in the Main Street Historic District, old or new.

If you think some of Jay’s comments are shocking, how about “Base2 lodge rooms will have a price point never seen in Aspen.” Whereas you may have “served seven years as commissioner and chairman of the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission,” I, conversely, moved to Aspen in September 1960, 55 years ago, and I can tell you you’re dead wrong about that comment.

What you have chosen to do is to join with many people both in and out of City Hall, with positions of influence, who have succumbed to activity by an outside developer who, to my way of thinking, will prove to be very damaging to our community and its very long-standing culture that set the stage for its reputation among the finest in North America and the world. Anytime one developer gains control of way too much commercial property in a small community like ours (was), you have a serious problem, and you and your peers are facilitating that to happen.

Shame on you, Jay.

Donald J. Fleisher