Colorado Mountain College proposed expansion in Aspen goes against agreement
The conflict I have with Colorado Mountain College goes back to the very beginning of the Aspen Business Center in the late 1960s.
In 1966, we moved to Aspen when I was offered a job by Bill Janss to help design and develop Snowmass Village. It was through this job I became friends with Fritz Benedict and Elizabeth Paepke. Fritz was a planner for Snowmass. Elizabeth was the trustee for the land surrounding the airport on both sides of Highway 82.
Between us and Mrs. Paepke’s architect friend, world-class architect Harry Weese, we developed the idea for the Aspen Business Center. Today, there are 187 businesses and 166 living units in the ABC and North 40.
When CMC first came to us 24 years ago, they understood the concept and guidelines for the area. The college was cramped on the high school campus. They wanted their own home and as a community college but they liked the location at the North 40 because of the proximity to serve local students.
Because CMC agreed to be contained by our original vision, height restrictions and setbacks, we agreed to sell them the land at one-half the going market rate. This is memorialized in a contract and addendum dated June 3, 1999, between me and then president, Cynthia Heelan.
Sadly, the proposed expansion by CMC today to become a residential college for 175 nonresident students violates that agreement and is unacceptable.
But the CMC proposal is just not a violation of our agreement, it is an attack on the neighborhood, who believed CMC would honor the agreement made just before the North 40 homeowners bought their lots. They relied on my vision and assurance I was given from the college.
Just because an educational organization like CMC can bypass local zoning constraints does not make it acceptable to violate signed agreements. For a college that teaches philosophy and morality to knowingly and selfishly decide to abandon a written agreement to pursue a goal that was never agreed to is wrong.
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