Those poor Aspen Realtors |

Those poor Aspen Realtors

Some of my friends are real estate agents. What’s interesting is how defensive they are about the profession. Yet I understand why they hang in there while posting their photos everywhere in a parquetry of polished faces, hoping to catch the eye of a billionaire and nail a sizable commission (example: 6% of $5 million is $300,000).

While planners, attorneys, architects, contractors, property managers, concierges of all “needs,” and footmen of the residential development and short-term rental complex ride the money wheel, an embarrassing excess everywhere has led to a rationalized gluttony in town. This disproportionately raises demand for more workers who are already marginalized by the high cost of living and no housing anywhere.

In response to this compounding disparity linked to perpetual tear-down/rebuild that has neutered community, City Council implemented a needed moratorium on residential development and applications for short-term rental licenses. Unfortunately, like responsible dog owners who endure increasing canine restrictions because of irresponsible dog owners, some legitimate homeowners were caught in the pause.

But, as opaque outside LLCs hegemonize downtown Aspen and buy residential properties to rebuild them into short-term rental securities —creating soulless, high-maintenance, carbon-burning, waste-producing financial solar systems in onetime neighborhoods — it’s high time to take a log of the fire and reboot.

Yet in a reaction disguised at first as sincerity about contradictions, followed by a signature petition to repeal the moratorium (fat chance), closely capped by a mean-spirited lawsuit pinpointing each of the hard-working City Council members and the city as defendants, the 800-member and 500-affiliate members of the Aspen Board of Realtors claim they are suffering irreparable financial injury.

In today’s pandemic real estate market how could that be? Perhaps supply of agents is more than demand in a town of 4,400 residents. If the free market weeds the agents, those left might be able to make ends meet.

Tim Cooney


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