Fuzzy math, Gorsuch style
The specious arithmetic put forward by self-declared Gorsuch Haus employee Allyn Harvey to show that the proposed hotel high on the slope at 1A is really not so tall is pretty funny (“Gorsuch the right project for Aspen Mountain,”Letters, Feb. 13, 2017, The Aspen Times).
Mr. Harvey notes that the proposed height of Gorsuch Haus’s highest point is 48 feet. For reference, the new Aspen Art Museum is 47 feet. But Harvey argues that the currently proposed average height of the hotel is only 36.2 feet. Hmmm. Remember the story of the man who drowned in a river with an average depth of 1 foot?
I’ve never heard of a city code that talks in “averages.”
But that’s not all. Harvey goes on to say that, “Gorsuch Haus will be visible from parts of town, but it is up against a mountain, so it will not impede anyone’s views.” That, of course, assumes that visitors and residents would rather look at a massive building than an uncluttered, empty piece of mountain. Snow covered in winter and green in summer.
As to what the elected Aspen city officials of the 1970s were trying to do when they created “Conservation” as a zoning category, I agree with Harvey, who says he thinks they were “conserving the ski area for ski area uses.” Does that include a big hotel? Probably not. But there is no need to guess. The city zoning code is very explicit: “Conservation (C) Zone District is to provide areas of low density development to enhance public recreation, conserve natural resources … and to (limit) urban development.”
Pretty clear, I think.
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