Letter: Common themes
October 17, 2015
On a recent visit to your lovely town, I became aware of the fact that Aspen is currently experiencing some of the same development issues that we are in Asheville, North Carolina. In particular, I'm referring to the Base2 hotel-proposal ballot issue.
Like Aspen, Asheville is a popular tourist destination and is experiencing enormous pressure from outside developers to approve hotel projects that, in their size and design, threaten to overwhelm and ultimately destroy the charm and unique character of our small city. Unfortunately, our City Council, elected as progressives committed to preserving Asheville's architectural heritage and distinct character, seems incapable of resisting that pressure and frequently bends over backward to accommodate exceptions to codified building and design requirements. This has provoked pushback from an increasingly large number of concerned residents and has become a central issue in the current City Council election cycle.
I see in the Base2 hotel proposal slated for the Conoco station lot on Main Street the same basic conflict pitting the interests of developers against those of residents: lots of promises by developers and little or no legal requirements that would guarantee their fulfillment and a City Council unwilling or unable to protect its city from forces that, if left unchecked, will surely diminish if not eventually destroy its appeal to both residents and visitors alike.
At any rate, I congratulate those of you who have managed to get the Base2 issue on the ballot, and I hope that the people of Aspen will vote "no" on question 2A and on any future development that is so obviously out of keeping with your community's core values. Would that the people of Asheville had this option.
Asheville, North Carolina
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