Letters to the editor
The proposed acquisition of an exhausted gravel pit and wetlands in Edwards has received much publicity, all positive. It ought to have raised some serious questions! Is it really appropriate for the Vail Valley Foundation, which does much good when it sticks to its charter, to inject itself into the politically charged land-use debate? However well intentioned this effort may be, this project appears to brings together an unlikely alliance of supporters which should cause all of us to pause and reflect. In a valley where land is at a premium, taking a 72-acre parcel with attractive commercial development potential off the market can only have one consequence: to drive up real estate prices in Edwards and downvalley, where future development by necessity must divert. Was it really the intent of all who voted for the “open space tax” to reward real estate speculators? Was it the intent to encourage more strip development along I-70? Was it not the expectation that there would be a concept on how this money was to be spent? Apparently there is not, as the Blair Ranch and the Edwards projects demonstrate! Any land planner worth his salt will urge concentration of commercial activities at the maximum density tolerable, in this case Edwards, surrounded by contiguous residential development separated from adjacent urban (in our case suburban) centers by as much unspoiled green space as possible. This requires protection of ridgelines, wetlands, wildlife corridors and major parcels which may be adjacent to existing green space such as those controlled by the Forest Service or the BLM, ranches, golf courses, etc. The Edwards parcel meets none of these criteria, as the wetlands involved are already protected by other measures and will not be built on in any case. Would it not make sense for this newspaper to shine some light on this and explore the details of who gains from this and who loses, not to mention all of us who can look forward to uninterrupted commercial strip development from Dowd Junction to Glenwood Canyon if we waste our open space resources in this fashion? Putting this puzzle together might yield some interesting results and help derail this ill-advised and costly adventure. How about it, Don Rogers? John Eschenlohr Avon Nothing’s ‘affordable’With this letter I salute whoever called Tipsline with the piece printed under the heading “Little late to whine.” You hit the nail right on the head, old sport. However, I do take exception to you likening the monstrosity at Middle Creek to a barracks. Barracks 787, Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego (where for three years I had a private room the Navy did not know I had), is Trump Tower by comparison to that garbage dump. The injustice is that the developers of Middle Creek are fraudulently promoting it as “affordable” housing. I recall reading that a three bedroom unit there will start at $1,350 per month, and anyone who calls that affordable is either a retrograde moron or a liar.We are all aware that affordable housing is a major problem in this area, but I seem to be the only one who knows the solution to the problem. The solution was not for our sanctimonious Town Council to buy Timber Ridge, which they had absolutely no business doing, nor was it to approve another Timber Ridge at Middle Creek. The solution is rent control, something we have needed for a long time.Let’s face reality, most rentals in this valley are nothing to write home about in the first place. Rents have been worse than unconscionable for years and they just keep going up. Only what these greedy landlords don’t realize, or more accurately, just don’t care about is that salaries are not rising commensurately with the cost of living.Employers up here have such a high rate of turnover, largely because they are too niggardly to pay decent wages and because too many landlords are bleeding people dry for substandard accommodations.Gordon CrownVailFor the animalsA few weeks ago there was a letter in the Daily from a Vail resident questioning why the bike path through Dowds Junction was closed for wildlife. He couldn’t understand why the path was closed when there is a tunnel for the wildlife to move unhindered through that area. I would like to maybe help him understand why it is we have to give that space to the animals for that period of time. The most obvious is that the elk, mule deer, bears and assorted others have used this area a long time before we were here. During their migrations they did not have to contend with things like highways and development, which were built across the migration trails they have used for thousands of years. As we humans populated the West, these animals learned to fear not only the sight of humans but the odor humans give off. Many times you don’t stumble across deer and elk when you are just walking through the woods due to the fact that they most likely smelled you long before you even got close to them. So there is a small herd of elk working their way through Intermountain to cross under the highway, like we have forced them to. They don’t won’t to go upvalley, why? Humans, and they won’t really go down, why? Humans. So they are bottlenecked into that small area at Dowd Junction. The herd is passing through with no problem until someone goes by on the bike path. Maybe those elk get wind of that someone and break the herd up or spread them out. Maybe it puts them off that spot and they try and cross over the highway after being spooked into another direction. Maybe they get hit by a car, which again we humans made them have to deal with. So what’s better, you being able to ride your bike through Dowd Junction, or giving the wildlife a little space? We already make it hard on them just living in this valley, so doesn’t it seem like giving up a half-mile of bike path for a few months is better than one day not have the wildlife here at all? So ride the bus to work. It’s too cold to be riding a bike anyway.Bill MorrisAvonVail, Colorado
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