Sunday, September 13, 2009
I wish to inform the readers of the Pilot & Today of a travesty in progress.
When confronted with a project which runs absolutely counter to years of planning for a viable and environmentally sensitive development of Routt County, most of us would question the need and rationale for such a project. A development of 372 units on 252 lots, which will put up to 1,600 individuals on property which, in large part, is currently zoned as Agriculture/Forestry, with one access onto a designated "remote" road, Routt County Road 16, would seem outrageous.
The Song Mountain development adjacent to C.R. 16, which takes you up Lynx Pass, is before the Routt County commissioners and is exactly the project I described above. Even though one of the commissioners provided a thoughtful and well-informed set of concerns about the Song Mountain Development being in conflict with the Routt County Master Plan which protects the county's agricultural lands and wildlife areas, on Aug. 25 the county commissioners hurriedly brought the zoning change request (A/F to PUD) to a vote and with a vote of 2-1 approved this zoning change. This action further propels the Song Mountain Development plans for a high-density human population in the middle of wildlife habitat.
As one listened to the innuendo at the Aug. 25 meeting, one was struck by the unsubstantiated, and in some ways ridiculous, promises being made by the developers to secure their goals. For instance, the developers stated, and put in writing, that the development will be 85 percent "natural or undisturbed area." Interestingly, this area is generated in large part by counting every square foot outside the footprint of the proposed buildings. Such space would be privately owned and unlikely to be undisturbed or open to the public.
The developers also touted the wildlife corridors (for elk, etc.), which they plan for this development. Somehow, the danger of their plans for transecting these corridors with paved roads carrying substantial traffic within this "planned community" has escaped the notice of the developers and commissioners. Vehicle/animal collisions can be deadly, not only for the animals, but also for the vehicle's occupants.
A multitude of additional "promises" were made by the developers ranging from contributions in financing or "in kind" for schools, water and sewer systems, firehouse and "improvement" of C.R. 16 to carry up to 1,000 more vehicles on a daily basis.
What was absent from this litany of promises was how much and when. What was stated loud and clear by the developers, was "let us begin, and we will work the details out later." Sad to say it is often left to the taxpayers of Routt County to work out and pay for such details.
I have taken an advertisement in the real estate section of today's Pilot & Today to publish the details of what I heard and saw at the meeting of the county commissioners, because of the limits on the length of Letters to the Editor. I hope that you will seek out and read the facts and opinions included in the advertisement. What I really hope is that you will do all you can to prevent this travesty from going further and be vigilant for and resistant to other activities, which cheapen and diminish the beauty of our environment.