Conflicting objectives on Lift 1A expansion
December 6, 2018
I've never minded walking up to Lift 1A, especially on powder days, to avoid the frenzy of the gondola. Change isn't coming to 1A; it's here. The free public parking disappeared recently, never to return. The only vacant land available to develop currently is the Lift One Lodge parcel.
Gorsuch Haus is being portrayed as having an equal seat at the table when they don't actually own the land where their proposed hotel will sit. Aspen Skiing Co. owns the parcel, and it is currently zoned conservation. This zoning change request seems contradictory to the Skico's mission statement of sustainability and preserving the environment.
Does a hotel in the intersection of two ski runs sound like conservation? Is the public aware there is another 40,000-plus square feet of additional development possible above the proposed Gorsuch Haus, possibly private homes, if the zoning is changed? Why has Skico asked someone else to run this hotel when its had such success with The Little Nell and Limelight?
The FIS has requested an upgraded lift before World Cup Skiing can return to Aspen Mountain. It did not request a hotel. Why does Skico want/need an additional large building in an already steep, crowded finish area? Why is Skico slow to replace 1A yet eager to get the new Pandora's lift built?
With the reconfigured lift, all proposed development becomes ski in/ski out, obviously making everything proposed more valuable/lucrative. Yet both developers are asking the city (citizens) of Aspen to pay millions of dollars for amenities that were already agreed to and that their projects benefit from.
The public-private partnership already exists on this project. City staff have already spent thousands of hours on this project; thus the city is already heavily invested in it.
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This should not be a one-question ballot issue. Bringing Lift 1A closer to town is a worthwhile goal; development on land zoned conservation is not.
The zoning change should be a stand-alone ballot question. Because if it comes down to either/or, I don't mind walking up the hill to ride Lift 1A.