Letter: Clueless on the council
January 12, 2016
Ann Mullins, as a member of the City Council, you could benefit from studying Aspen's land-use code and how the process works in the Community Development Department. Your comments Monday night revealed you are naive about such matters.
Through the years, our land-use code has been amended to grant to the director of community development virtually unfettered and unilateral authority to approve projects that vary tremendously from the basic zoning rules. One area of repeated abuse is the planned-development concept. As originally enacted, that avenue to special treatment applied only to developments that included large tracts that might cross zoning boundaries. Now the community development director can apply planned development to any project that he alone deems benefits the community.
Our land-use code is chock-full of other loopholes that the community development director can choose to exploit or not exploit for a particular applicant depending on his personal discretion. For you to say, as you did Monday night, that the director merely applies the land-use code reveals that you just don't know what you are talking about.
Further, it is the director of community development who drafts and proposes amendments to the land-use code. In the past few months, the previous director proposed to City Council amendments that would have granted vested rights to developers much sooner in the application process than is required by Colorado law (which already grants such rights). I attended a meeting where this was presented to the council. It was shameful how the director misrepresented the purpose of the proposed change and even more shameful how clueless council members were about the effects of the proposed change.
The five of you are considering many matters you do not seem qualified to consider. You could get up to speed, but you would need to do a lot of homework. I hope you will choose to do so. It's actually part of the job.
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