Letter (Thursday, Aug. 15): Penthouses deplete Aspen’s vibrancy
August 20, 2013
A glass box with a third-floor penthouse is proposed for the Hyman Avenue mall. I'm with Mayor Steve Skadron on this one. No.
To me, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and though I respect Aspen's eclectic architectural past, I do not believe that a glass box should serve as a "bookend" to a great historic stretch of buildings in Aspen's core.
I agree with the mayor that penthouses in the core do more harm than good. Does anyone really think that an owner or renter with a unit over Escobar isn't going to complain about noise? The city can try to cover its bacon and write all it wants to warn buyers and renters so the city can ignore future complaints, but you can pass no law that will prevent complaints. When people with unlimited resources complain and decide to fight, they bring lawyers, decibel readings, municipal codes and the Constitution to fight.
What does the community get out of penthouses in the core? A few short-term jobs to build them, and then what? Tax dollars? Nominal. Vibrancy? From a few penthouses for kabillionaires? Please. How about inexpensive retail space on the mall? Nah, we don't get that, but that might be a fair trade-off. Could penthouses be a great launching pad for water balloons on the Fourth of July? Yeah, OK, but aren't water balloons outlawed during the parade?
I believe the community has made Aspen incredibly valuable, and I support that. I believe we have a responsibility to those who make this place their home and livelihood to keep our core great and to those fortunate enough to invest to protect those values. Near as I can tell, third-floor penthouses in the core do nothing on either front.
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