Aspen’s electrocratic endorsement of cash-in-lieu parking mitigation requirements for proposed developments and construction is another pitiful example of government sophistic logic. Just what does this cash-in-lieu flim-flam do for the neighborhoods impacted with deficient parking? Absolutely nothing. And then...

The implications of BendonAdams’ Planning flyer (March 9, 2021) stating, “the city of Aspen is considering a zoning code change to allow greater density on non-historic properties of 6,000 sq. ft. or smaller for multi-family homes” are disconcerting. Considering BendonAdams sent out these flyers, infers that this proposal was city endorsed and coordinated. This is an inferred partnership between the city and BendonAdams, of a tacit, cozy relationship linked by social capital between current city staff and their former protégés. Seemingly, most council members have endorsed this cronyism by their little kid caught in the act, vacant, slack-jaw silence.

If this rezoning proposal passes, it’s a win-win for BendonAdams’ bottom line, city-staff job security and an open door to unfettered corporate development. But at what cost to the living standards for all Aspen neighborhoods? The city’s and BendonAdams’ proposed sardine zoning is all about greed is good, the Milton Friedman paradigm of corporate capitalism that former Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick embraced.

Bendon, the former director of community development, with his ilk of former city-staff, drafted much of the city’s bag of supercilious code officialdom that mandates private planning services to navigate. This is the same bag of code that BendonAdams’ company currently feeds on which made community development into a lucrative profit enterprise.

Bendon retires with some of his staff, changes hats to create his own business, enabling him to take to the bank years of accrued social capital linked with city staff. How sweet it must be for BendonAdams business to capitalize on their own officialdom, with the same copy/paste style city software format. BendonAdams’ council/HPC presentations similarity to city-staff presentations is unmistakable. Could this lobby tactic solicit some positive council bias for the corporate greed he represents? Could BendonAdams close mutually beneficial relationship with the city be construed as collusion between corporations and government, against the public good?

For us, this stinks, kind of like when a HPC commissioner told us, “you’d get through this process a lot faster if you hired one of us.” Aspen government corruption and cronyism at its best.

Scott and Caroline McDonald