Letter to Editor: What Aspen needs
I want to be up front — I support the Lift One proposal. You should, too. Aspen Mountain is a tripod stool with one leg sawed off that needs to be put back on. I support removing the rush-hour mess outside Aspen by building a four-lane over a very small corner of the Marolt open space. Reduce the stress and air pollution. There will be no flood of cars into town, rightly so there is nowhere to park.
Importantly, I support the idea that the affordable-housing program as is does not work well. There is too much cheating, lack of enforcement, no real count or control of inventory, and not enough maintenance of the same.
Let's freeze that program and move on.
The city of Aspen needs to find a partner (notice I did not use the D word) to engage in a partnership resulting in a large-scale, private-but-well-positioned/hidden development for both lower- and middle-income working people in Aspen. The city has been collecting cash in lieu, the real estate transfer tax and more for a couple of decades.
If some of this money can be used for the Lift One area, let's alter its use again and build, for god's sake, some decent housing. Rental, purchase, tiny, small houses of varying sizes. A lot of space near Burlingame and a lot of cantilevered hillside at the Smuggler Mine (it's going to have McMansions otherwise). Light rail the short distance into town from Burlingame, folks, or let's just call it what it is: a trolley.
Let's unhitch housing from other development; did you ever consider that having housing requirements for developers might increase development? (Crazy? "So hey, we will build this and it will have some housing, which you want!" Then they buy it off and it doesn't happen and they still get to build. Classic bait and switch, folks.)
These areas need to be owned by anyone but the city. Think the Silver King apartments if your memory is long enough, and throw in a "no condominium ever" clause.
I'd run for mayor with this but, again, I live in Basalt!