Omar M. Campbell: Bias in support

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— "No need for 700 Vote" (Today, April 16) is the second ViewPoints editorial supporting the 700 LLC speculation - and presumably other unrestrained growth, as well. It lauds the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan, conceived 13 years ago, with its stated goal to direct growth away from the metro area of the town. The bias of the paper's Editorial Board in supporting the 700 project is obvious.

The WSSAP is a pre-planned manipulation to assure virtually preapproved future growth, under the popular appeal of providing "affordable" housing, jobs and "prosperity" into the future. At what social cost - a bigger jail, more law enforcement, more schools, welfare, a traffic and parking nightmare and on and on?

It also accomplished something else - causing the value of CRP and wheat land to escalate from a few hundred dollars per acre to several tens of thousands per acre. I do not care to pursue this one - but some old-timers might remember who was on the City Council at the time.

The editorial implies that we as citizens of Routt County should just roll over and accept the plan and automatic annexation - like a flock of sheep following a lead goat to slaughter. Don't buy that. We ordinary citizens are entitled to decide our own future - not just the Chamber-dominated and interest-conflicted council majority.

A plebiscite would establish whether the ordinary citizens really want moderate, managed growth or the uncontrolled kind we have had for so long. If it is the latter, so be it. Majority rules. I would accept that result, shut up about growth and turn my attention back to illegal aliens, the Chamber/City Council interactions, church and state, and other favorite issues.

By the way - I came across a better poetic allegory from Robert Burns that fits the WSSAP nicely:

"The best-laid schemin' o' mice and men gang aft a-gley (goes often astray), an'lea'e (leave) us naught but grief an' pain, for promised!" (To A Mouse. 1785.)

Omar M. Campbell

Steamboat Springs

Comments

SilverSpoon 6 years, 7 months ago

Annexation is bad for equity in down town. The old fuzzy math was: Buy a down town dump for $500,000 and sink $120,000 and now have a shiny downtown dump worth $850,000. Borrow the equity, and go to mexico for blue break.

If people can by 2 new homes for the price of the downtown remodel, the equity of the remodel will dissappear like dust in the wind when no one will pay $850, $750, or even $650 for your half nice house.

Realtors need to change their strategy to more quantity of sales rather than quality.

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justathought 6 years, 7 months ago

Silver, You forgot the part that goes; when you get back from mexico wait for the government to bail you out of your borrowing stupidity because the only way your house was worth what you borrowed was on paper and poor little you believed. Nice vacation though.

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424now 6 years, 7 months ago

Silver,

As a prospective buyer, with a limited budget, I appreciate your position. The "more quantity rather than quality" approach will possibly allow me to afford 3br-2ba, with some kind of yard, in the Boat.

I would prefer a quality product. I however have the skills to turn one of those dumps into more than a half-nice house.

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424now 6 years, 7 months ago

Ok I won't do it three time sites not loading.

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80488mom 6 years, 7 months ago

There are more than a few things that are beginning to "stink" in Steamboat. I always enjoy reading Omar's perspective on what is happening to this small town.

My current concern is a situation developing in the school district. Read the fine print in the call for applications for the Montessori program printed in Tuesday's paper. Siblings of current and former Montessori students are given preference in the lottery. Transpiring is a group of families creating a monopoly on the program guaranteeing access for their children and denying equal access and opportunity for other children in the district. A small private school within the confines of a public school system is being created.

I hope those of you who have applied or hope to have your children benefit from a Montessori program step up and demand equality for your children in the lottery process.

I had the opportunity to discuss this with a board member. That board member was not even aware the policy existed. Hopefully, this board member will advocate for the rights of all children served by this district.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 7 months ago

The opinions of anyone at the pilot is just that. The only difference is they have the ability to put their opinions out to the public in print.

I never elected anyone at the pilot to make decisions on my behalf.

700 will effect the lives of everyone in the valley. Some have made the case that other annexations haven't gone to the vote of the people. Well when there are several thousand lots at stake everyone should have a chance to weigh in with a vote

I'd certainly be concerned about paying 600-800k for a shack downtown with 700 on the horizon. I don't care how much granite you put in a shed.

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realistic 6 years, 7 months ago

Omar, Thank you for your wisdom. Thanks for looking out for the best interests of this small town. Please stick with your efforts to get the word out. Lets put annexation to a vote. It may be that most people agree already.. look at the rec center and its lack of support when it came time to vote.

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blackthroatedwind 6 years, 7 months ago

So Omar, get a petition going, I'd love to see it put to the popular vote! And make sure the petition carriers know what information needs to be put in the address section!

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mfishon1 6 years, 7 months ago

I've only attended one City Council meeting where the SB700 was discussed so I'm a bit in the dark on the financial picture. One thing we do know is the city government and services will have to grow to support the annexation. Since this SB city revenue is driven by sales/lodging tax (i.e mostly tourist) I'm just trying to figure out where are we going to get the extra tourist tax money to pay for the additional city staff/services. My understanding is that SB700 is not going to bring in more tourist - on the contary the goal is to lure some of those tourists into becoming full time residents which means instead of those tourists contributing big sales tax via eating out/lodging, etc. they will live like a large majority here who make big purchases elsewhere (Denver, Internet, etc.) and contribute very little to the sales tax revenue.

It just seems that as this town grows and the tourist base stays relatively the same then at some point the city is going to need some property tax money to start paying the bills.

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colowoodsman 6 years, 7 months ago

Great letter Omar! In a town where the City government is so deeply involved in one single industry MAJOR issues such as the 700 annexation and the TC contract should be subject to voter review. What are the supporters of these issues afraid of?

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Ilike2dv8 6 years, 7 months ago

I find Omar's comments almost humorous coming from a guy who made a good deal of his income from developing in Steamboat over the years.

Why is it that whenever something isn't going the way the vocal minority wants, they demand a vote? Actually, I don't have much of an issue with a public vote but in this case why now. Seriously, this plan was created many years ago and includes a recent update. Why all of the sudden does Omar want to put this on the ballot and slow the process of providing some attainable housing for good people even more, people who are truly desperate in their desire to remain in Steamboat. I'm not talking about the young adults contemplating where life may take them but people who are critical to Steamboat's quality of life. Teachers, medical professionals, retailers, lodging personnel, foresters, firefighters, police, city and county employees... These people ARE a huge part of Steamboat, they are vital to our safety, our children's education, our entertainment and everything from putting tires on our cars to playing the viola at a concert. Without a concentrated effort to provide enough attainable housing we will continue to lose fabric of our community. If you believe Omar's bunk... look around. Ask someone at the hospital how difficult it is to attract new quality nurses or even doctors to replace those retiring, talk with law enforcement folks about how they are always short staffed because they can't afford to pay new deputies and officers enough to live here, chat it up with someone at the school district or your favorite shop or restaurant downtown and ask them what the number one issue is facing their business or non-profit, they will be quick to tell you it's finding and keeping quality employees mainly due to the high cost of housing in our valley.

Omar if a vote is so important, you of all people should know the responsible thing to do would have been to bring this to a head years ago before the $250,000 was spent developing the plan.

Shame on you and others who bury their heads in the sand until hundreds of thousands of tax payers' dollars are spent on a plan you allow to move through the process unchecked until the final hour. I would plead with our City Council to move forward firmly and swiftly and to LEAD our community and not have it continue to wave in the wind while Omar and his cronies create the perfect balance of no growth infused with a choked economy sending more of our good citizens and friends packing and further damaging what most of us appreciate about living here.

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skiday11 6 years, 7 months ago

As much as many love the idea of large development solving the affordable housing crisis, won't it really just delay it? This will always be an expensive place to live. By the time the last half of the houses/lots are on the market, can they really be cheap enough (think 10-25 years)? Even if they are, in 30 years there will be the same exact problem, not to mention there will be many more low-wage jobs to fill created by the development. The size of the town is doubling. Man do the urbanites love development to be the answer when they can find an issue to be "solved." Just like any other wealthy resort with the same needs as ours, the needed employees commute. Improved and increased modes of transportation from surrounding towns are the real solution. There are only superficial needs for this development right now. Rich people want to make more money and that is the absolute bottom line.

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Ilike2dv8 6 years, 7 months ago

Skiday, unfortunatly growth will not magically stop until people in this country and around the globe decide to quite pro-creating. I'm not going to hold my breath... as for commuting down valley, I couldn't disagree more. Do you really think that is the answer... let's see, double the size of Hayden, Oak Creek and Clark putting more cars on the rode for longer periods of time verses a 2.5 mile drive allowing for affordable public trasportation. I respect your thoughts but can't agree to your solution. Rich people wanted to make more money... what does that have to do with anything?

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skiday11 6 years, 7 months ago

Ilike, the economy in Steamboat is pretty far from being choked. I believe what I most appreciate about this area is the amazing open space and agricultural lifestyles that surround a SMALL town. That's what I grew up with and deeply cherish. It is hard to live here; it will always be. I was allowed to grow up here and experience the Steamboat/Routt county lifestyle because one of my parents was and still is willing to commute to Denver to earn a decent living. To live in or even near such a place as Steamboat requires some great sacrifices for middle class individuals and families.

Other resorts have the same exact problem and have had it for longer than Steamboat has. The answer is for most workers to commute. We have Hayden, Milner, Yampa, Oak Creek, and most significantly Craig. Oh, also, we have high school and college kids who can work a variety of jobs. Developing our roads and transportation systems for easy and convenient access to commuting employees is easier, infinitely less dramatic, and more sensible than doubling the size of the town all at once!

If the small town, friendly down-to-earth people atmosphere is so important to us, do you think we will preserve it by construction a massive, complicated and close to logistically impossible development the size of Steamboat 700? That is just non-sense, if you were to ask me. Go ahead, ask me.

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skiday11 6 years, 7 months ago

Ilike, sorry, delayed post, didn't see your last comment so mine might not be accurate toward yours

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skiday11 6 years, 7 months ago

"Skiday, unfortunately growth will not magically stop until people in this country and around the globe decide to quite pro-creating." - that is the real answer isn't it? Wish that could be approached.

I don't know where you get that we need to DOUBLING the size of Hayden and Clark! As far as adding more cars, that's not where I was going with that. I'm saying take the amount people using cars now, and use the city council's energy that they would be using to control and navigate the progress of a monstrous development and use it toward improving mass transportation methods to and from those areas.

And about the rich people:. I as just stating that is who the development is really meant to benefit the most (the developers, investors, and 2nd home owners).

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AmebaTost 6 years, 7 months ago

If we could just get our local rich kids to work we would have far less jobs to fill.

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housepoor 6 years, 7 months ago

have you ever had a local kid come by and offer to mow your lawn????

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Ilike2dv8 6 years, 7 months ago

Skiday - I appreciate the sacrifice part as I like many other folks around Steamboat worked three jobs the first several years I lived here in order to stay here. Despite not growing up here, I understand the fear of loss. Growing up on a farm near a small town, I also have the same appreciation for our valley and it's staggering beauty as you do.

Our differences revolve around finding the right solution. It's true that several other ski towns (mostly due to topography) share many of the same issues that face Steamboat, yet I don't know of any that I would model our town after. Creating sprawl buy pushing the growth way down the valley doesn't seem like the answer to me. As for doubling the size of Steamboat overnight... that's just not realistic nor does the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan (WSSAP) provide for or promote that. The annexation of the lands west of town that has been identified in the WSSAP is simply that... an annexation. The annexation only allows for development to occur, it does not make it happen nor does it create a market. If there is no market, the land will not be built on until there is. I think it's logical to expect a few hundred homes going in over the next 5-10 years due to the pent up demand. The city has not annexed a significant parcel of land into the city limits since the early 80's. How can we possibly expect not find ourselves so far behind the eight ball with this type of shortsightedness? The expected time frame to build out those areas identified in the WSSAP is between 25 and 30 years. It is anyone's guess as to how long it will actually take to build out but I do know it took over a hundred years for the city to reach a size of 10,000 so the likely hood of it doubling in even 30 to 50 years is remote.

Growth is difficult, it's hard to see a meadow or a hillside scared with a new home or several for that matter but remember we are surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forest, BLM and private lands protected by trusts. I feel blessed that we live in such a beautiful area and I take solace in knowing that within a couple minutes of drive time or a quick bike ride I can find myself on a trail with no one around except maybe a good neighbor walking their dog.

Have a great weekend skiday. I hope we can both appreciate each other's views today and in the future.

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