Scott Bayens: Inside out and upside down |

Scott Bayens: Inside out and upside down

Scott Bayens
Deeded Interest
Scott Bayens

I think we all thought 2022 would be different. That goes without saying really. After all, the point of every New Year is that it be “new” and offer a fresh start and perspective. But I have to tell ‘ya, at least in terms of the Bayens household, we’ve had a doozie of a first month and are still trying to catch our breath and find our stride. And from what I hear and been seeing, we are not alone.

Around the 1st, despite our highly controversial adherence to offensive masks and use of poisonous vaccines, even we finally succumbed to the dreaded VID. After testing positive for omni, and watching my kid jump for joy as he’d be missing class, we promptly did all the things we knew to be responsible and considerate. We called the school, work and all our friends and colleagues who we had either spoken to, sneezed on or kissed on the lips. We even “turned ourselves in” using that contact tracing app on our iPhones. No one cared. Everyone was vaxxed and either had just had it, had it then or wished they did.

As we settled into our own mini-lockdown, we looked forward to having some downtime to reflect on another year gone by, get overdue holiday cards out, catch up around the house and write out a resolution or two. But once again, “real life” crept in and disrupted any anticipated solitude or departure from the normal day-to-day.

Wasn’t this new year supposed to be different?

In the past 31 days, more of us were sick and hospitalized than since this thing began. President Joe Biden fell flat on his face after failing to reach a majority on the Build Back Better plan. And a volcano in the South Pacific blew an entire island to pieces and was the biggest eruption in 42 years.

But during the same period, we were wowed by the launch of and success of the James Webb telescope. The new Spiderman movie hauled in nearly $1.5 billion in receipts worldwide. And here at home, another thrilling X Games was hosted alongside Aspen’s annual Gay Ski Week.

Far less flamboyant than a rainbow flag but just as exciting is the contentious debate over the city’s short-term rental restrictions as well as a moratorium on any new residential construction. A citizen-lead petition campaign is gaining steam hoping to force a referendum to stop the new pair of emergency measures. At the same time, the Aspen Board of Realtors surprised even its own members by filing suit against the City of Aspen over its 11th hour decision.

This week, Pitkin County commissions met in session and seemed poised to impose restrictions of its own, but took a last-minute step back by delaying any decisions, perhaps in part to watch what happens with the city, the suit and possible referendum.

Snowmass Village and Carbondale are also taking a look at how to better manage short-term rentals in their respective communities, but so far, have taken a more thoughtful and less forceful tact by encouraging community feedback and citizen participation.

The town and county say it’s all about responsible growth, the environment, and affordable housing. Others argue vacation homeowners contribute to the local tax base and employ workers who provide countless services for renters and their guests. And while the city has put a stop to new homes and condo construction, commercial projects remain on track.

Even with all these recent changes and disruptions, there is no shortage of impossible to believe “tales of sales.” Last week a historic ranch southeast of Glenwood priced at a cool $80 million went pending. In Blue Lake, a modest subdivision popular with mid-valley families, a 2,000 square foot single family built in the mid-’90s saw nine offers and went under contract in 72 hours and will likely close over $1.1 million.

And let’s not forget Pitkin County Transferable Development Rights. TDRs that were selling for less than $500,000 over a year ago, are now trading over $2 million. It’s hard to take in all in.

And so it seems this new year might go; as early indications suggest we are in for another wild ride and plenty of new challenges. Question is will 2022 be a year of conflict or consensus, progress or gridlock, resolution, revolution or more of the same? At least it won’t be boring.

Scott Bayens (GRI, ABR, CNE) is a Realtor with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. Learn more about him at

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