Seeking a compromise on Celestial project
October 12, 2017
My family has lived in the Maroon Creek Valley for 47 years. I attended the Celestial project Sept. 5 Board of Adjustment hearing. It is obvious to me that all parties involved with this issue have a strong love of community and the success of the people it serves.
The Board of Adjustment certainly has a difficult job of making decisions that impact the long-term health of the Aspen community, weighing the private-versus-public ramifications of their decisions. They must wrestle with any "special deals" they make with constituents that potentially set a precedent that could have a devastating impact on the other residents, as well as on the beauty of the Aspen area.
The Celestial hearing should have focused on the zoning code and striking a balance between an individual's ability to improve his property and the long-term public interest in preserving the natural beauty of the Maroon Creek Valley.
What was clear at the meeting is that there was not sufficient communication between the Maroon Creek Valley residents and Celestial. None of the neighbors want to refuse a landowner the right to build on his land; however, it must be done with sensitivity to the environment and the serenity of the community. It was clear that the neighbors would like to have a dialog about the placement and size of the project, with consideration of the debris flows and other safety concerns. This project will affect the valley and future projects for generations to come.
This dispute is not over yet. There is an opportunity for Celestial to work with the neighbors and to find and acceptable compromise, versus approaching this in a litigious fashion.
There is still hope of achieving a compromise on the Celestial land project. The Board of Adjustment has an opportunity to help make this happen. I urge the board to have the courage to ask the applicant to work with his neighbors in a spirit of cooperation.
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