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Aspen defends environmental stance

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In the sustainability report, O’Donnell admitted to “some merit” in the questioning of the expansion of Snowmass ski terrain, but ultimately rejected the thesis. “The logical extension of the criticism would be to shut down operations altogether,” he said. “Aspen Skiing Co. is a business trying to minimize its enormous impacts, operating in a way that enables us to be sustainable. But we are still a business,” O’Donnell wrote in the annual report.

O’Donnell also rejected criticism of the base-village redevelopment at Snowmass. He described the previous development as “sprawl posing as a mountain town.” He added: “We had to fix it if we wanted to stay in business.”

Rush to cap houses at 12,000 sq. ft.

SUN VALLEY, Idaho – Town officials in Sun Valley are moving to a cap on the size of homes. The average size of homes is now 3,500 square feet, and the mayor and city council had wanted a cap of 10,000 square feet, the cap imposed in Jackson, Wyo. The intent, Mayor Jon Thorson said, was to “protect the integrity of Sun Valley.”

But the planning commission achieved a consensus of 12,000 square feet. The cap is being rushed, explains the Idaho Mountain Express, as Idaho voters in November will vote on a proposal, modeled after a similar one approved by Oregon voters two years ago, that will require Idaho counties and cities to pay landowners whose property values are decreased by land-use laws.

Park City studying Reno

PARK CITY, Utah – A delegation of city officials and business leaders from Park City this year is going to the Reno-Lake Tahoe region. The delegation every fall goes to a different resort area because, explains tour organizer Myles Rademan, “Anytime you get out of your own zip code, it opens your eyes.”

Reno is known as a gambling town, but the economy has been shifting, notes The Park Record. Whereas gaming revenues once provided 80 to 90 per cent of the revenues, it’s now down to about 50 per cent.

Rademan suggests that the shift might be instructive for Park City. Because of global warming, skiing might be providing fewer revenues for Park City in the future. Bill Malone, executive director of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, similarly notes that Park City might well learn about how to market summer from the Lake Tahoe area. “They do a spectacular amount of summer business,” he says.

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