Make Aspen developers pay their way
I want the City Council to reconsider its position relative to continuing to extend the exemption on workforce housing requirements for existing buildings. At last week’s meeting, the council decided it was appropriate to exempt certain buildings from requiring workforce housing. I think this issue is a bit confusing but after thinking about it, I have arrived at the belief that all developments should contribute to housing the employees that are generated by the building.
As it now stands, as the council intends to perpetuate, if a building was developed prior to the formation of the housing authority and existing requirements for supplying housing for employees, that building does not have to provide for employee housing if it is redeveloped. Mick Ireland wrote about this last week. I have come to support the view that it is not right to allow some buildings to not contribute to workforce housing.
The disparity of wealth is increasingly entering our consciousness. If we are to be serious about this, let us start at home. Who are the people who develop downtown-core buildings? I suggest that it is the top few percent. Certainly not the local worker bees.
Should wealthy developers be exempted from contributing to the soul of your town? What makes the soul of Aspen? I do not believe it is the buildings in the core, nor the people who buy and develop them. I think the soul of Aspen is the people who work in those buildings. To allow certain developments to avoid providing housing for the soul of Aspen is unconscionable. Developers should not be able to capitalize on the Aspen brand and not contribute their fair share to housing of the heart and soul of Aspen.
If you agree that developers should pay their fair share, please tell your City Council. Don’t let this continue.
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With much sorrow I heard of the passing of a good friend Bruce Berger. He was a man for all seasons, a pianist, prolific author, environmentalist, and lover of Aspen.