Letter: Is parking agreement actually binding?
October 19, 2015
Editor's note: The following letter was addressed to Aspen City Council members Ann Mullins and Adam Frisch and Mayor Steve Skadron.
I read in the Oct. 15 papers that Steve now supports Base2 in part because he considers parking no longer an issue. Ann and Adam have had their names included in newspaper ads supporting Base2, the ads stating that on-site parking will be provided. I have seen a copy of a Sept. 21 letter from Mitch Haas to Chris Bendon in which Mitch states that his client "envisions" providing not less than 19 spaces in the basement, and the applicant expects the letter to be binding.
The inclusion of the full requirement of on-site parking is a major change to the application and might very well be a factor that sways some people to vote for, rather than against, Base2. However, I am concerned because several issues related to parking have not been clearly and directly addressed: One, I do not recall any public hearings to review the plans for the new sub-basement level and potential issues such as alley access, noise, neighbor concerns, soil contamination from the gas tanks, additional employee generation, etc. Wouldn't a public hearing be required for such a "material" (Mitch's word) modification? Two, have the various city departments and the City Council fully and carefully reviewed the plans for underground parking ? Three, has the council already taken the necessary formal steps to approve the underground parking, amend the plan and complete a binding agreement with the applicant? Four, if the council has not yet amended the plan, on what basis can you give me an assurance that you and the city attorney are confident that the applicant is legally bound to the city at this time to provide on-site parking, with appropriate safeguards to reduce noise, soil contamination, alley access, etc., especially if we approve in the referendum a plan that allows off-site parking?
These questions are crucial to me, because the applicant has a history of changing his mind.
My ultimate question to you, a yes-or-no question, is one of fact: Does a binding and enforceable agreement exist today between the applicant and city that now absolutely requires the applicant to provide on-site parking and eliminates the option for off-site parking?
Since you have each taken an active role in supporting this project in the referendum stage, I ask that you clearly address this important question by sending a letter to the papers fully and clearly stating the facts regarding the binding, or nonbinding, nature of the on-site parking. If you cannot assure me that the answer to my question is "Yes," then I and the other voters would have to conclude that the answer to the question is "No."
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