Aspen voters have approved a controversial new development at the base of the community's famed mountain. In a record year for voter turnout, the measure passed by just 26 votes. More than 3,000 ballots were cast Tuesday.
The proposed Lift One corridor project delighted some residents but also enraged others. It prompted yard signs to sprout all over town, letters to the editor in the local newspapers and impassioned comments at a public meeting.
Supporters said the project will be crucial for revitalizing the town's West End, with the addition of hotels and restaurants, and especially a new lift that will give skiers a second high-capacity loading spot downtown.
Detractors said the plan is too much development for the mountain, and it would only worsen local issues with traffic and affordable housing.
The Aspen City Council has already pledged more than $4 million to the project. It was also supported by the Aspen Skiing Company. Detractors included former Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis and other longtime locals who worried the heart of Aspen would be forever changed.
Aspenites also voted for mayor Tuesday. Of the four candidates, only one - a former city councilman who goes by singular name Torre - is against Lift One. Though he received the most votes, Torre now faces a runoff election with the second-highest vote getter, current city councilwoman Ann Mullins.