Letter: Get it done already
January 29, 2016
Editor's note: The following letter was originally addressed to Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron and the Aspen City Council.
While Aspen has thus far failed to implement the Aspen Area Community Plan, adopted now over four years ago, you as its elected officials have an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership and reform your land-use regulations so they actually reflect the community vision expressed through the adopted plan.
Instead of piecemeal code changes over the next two years as staff proposes in its memo for your Tuesday work session, the council should issue a request for proposals as most communities do and get this desperately needed work done in a coordinated and timely manner. None of this is terribly complex, but it will require political will — to be exact, three of you voting together to make this happen.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to see your embattled council demonstrate that representative democracy is still functioning in Aspen and that you are able to move swiftly to accomplish this important work? After all, some states require implementation within six months to a year after adoption of a master plan (for good reason, as otherwise the plan becomes obsolete and incompatible development occurs). Six years is simply too long to implement the community plan, and yet it is long enough to time and again approve development that conflicts with small-town values and character.
The alternative is the initiative process — the power to the people granted in the Colorado Constitution — which allows your residents to enact their own laws where you (their elected officials) have failed on some front. It would be terrific to see both the council and the community plan succeed here without forcing residents to resort to the polls yet again.
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