Letter: I’m voting no
September 29, 2015
Guest commentaries normally are written to persuade others to the author's point of view. Oftentimes the writer plays loose with the facts and numbers. Such is the case with Bill Sterling's column ("The balance between resort and fair," Commentary, The Aspen Times, Sept. 14). He is pro Base2 and that's that. So much so that he played with room rates to present a false impression that Base2 rates would look affordable compared to high season rates of other lodges. What Bill withheld was that even the developer is on record saying the room rates may be $400 a night during high season. Even $400 isn't guaranteed. Remember, there are no room rate guarantees. And it isn't even the developer who will set the rates; it will be the hotel operator, whoever that will be.
Ballot issue 2B asks the people of Aspen to vote yes if you want Base2 and no if you do not. It is simple. I want to focus on the issues. Base2 is more than 250 percent of the size (FAR) allowed under zoning. There are no setbacks. There are no on-site parking spaces, where zoning requires 20. The employee-housing requirement is only 1.6 full-time employees. Imagine running a 37-room lodge with only 1.6 employees — it's not going to happen. Once Base2 is built, we will live with it for the rest of our lives.
I acknowledge that the community plan wants affordable lodging. I want world peace. I want people to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. I want nations to not take up sword against nation, nor to train for war anymore. I want ISIS to go away. I want income equality. But in the real world we can't have everything we want. I ask you to run the numbers. We cannot have affordable lodging in Aspen without huge variances being granted.
I do not believe the people of Aspen can be bought with advertising. I have faith in our people.
I do not believe a fairy will sprinkle happy dust on Aspen if Base2 were built. I ask you all to weigh the tradeoffs for what is presented as affordable lodging. I ask you to consider the trust factor.
The developer several times publicly said there would be no vote if there were enough signatures to force a vote. He, in writing, withdrew abandoned and vacated the Base2 approval. He promises low room rates. He promises parking somewhere. After all these promises, I ask you to evaluate your own level of trust.
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You make up your own minds. I'm voting "no" on 2B.
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