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Letters to the editor

Elizabeth Klaus

On Jan. 20, I attended a county meeting to better understand the Eaton Ranch purchase. While the room was packed with interested citizens, I did not see Steve Pope there. I do understand that you, Don Rogers, arrived late and left early. The simple fact that neither of you could commit three hours to this process yet have felt compelled to write numerous editorials against this project has brought me to write this letter.First, Don you accuse many of the supporters of this project of not knowing the difference between the Eaton Ranch parcel and the adjoining B&B parcel. While I strongly disagree with you, I would say that if there are any that are confused, it is likely because your paper CONSISTENTLY prints photos of the B&B parcel, calling it Eaton Ranch. Perhaps you and your team could use a little education.Secondly, several weeks ago, Mr. Pope wondered why this issue didn’t go to a vote of the people. In many ways, Steve, it did. It was called the county commissioner election and it happened last November. Perhaps you remember it? In that election two candidates ran with their primary issue of preserving the Eaton Ranch as open space. News flash, they both won.Next, you both continually question why the county and the foundation did not consider the Hermes proposal. If you had been at the meeting, you would have heard the foundation state that they would not be interested or able to raise $6 million of private monies to support a land purchase that would accommodate, in part, development. So that means with the Hermes proposal there is no $6 million from the foundation. That means that the county could go with the foundation’s proposal and spend $6 million to get 72 acres they would own, or they could spend $6 million for a large part of that property to be developed. As a longtime taxpayer, I believe the commissioners made the right choice and would question the sanity of anyone who thinks otherwise.Then, you both point out that after all, it’s just a gravel pit. In just one year’s time you will see the rehab that is required of B&B to return the gravel pit to pasture land, then it will look like, well, a pasture and what it looked like 30 years ago. I’m sorry … is that a bad thing?Now lets go to one of your favorite issues, the master plan. In the last 10 years, the county has often disregarded the master plan and up-zoned. For those of us who aren’t in development, that means allow for MORE development. I don’t recall the Daily writing day after day editorials appalled that the master plan is not being followed in favor of more development. Furthermore, at the 20th meeting, at least one of the creators of the Edwards Master Plan noted that had they known there would be a possibility for the Eaton Ranch to be preserved, they would have represented that in the plan. But the critical flaw is this. Master plans are created to find a way to accommodate the numbers statisticians throw at them. They are a planning tool and simply take information in and do the best they can to provide for that information. Based on expected growth numbers for Eagle County, there is now a master plan to accommodate 90,000 people to live in the valley; 90,000. We live in a country that has determined its own future. The U.S. has not become the great nation it is because we have blindly followed what seems to be a set course. Our country is great because we have dictated what we want to be, where we want to go and how we want to get there.I do not want to live in a Vail Valley with 90,000 people. I don’t choose to have a community that is clogged-up in traffic, that may be surrounded by open space miles away, but had neither the vision nor took the responsibility to protect some within its midst. I did not move here to live with others who long for big box stores, car dealerships and 10 shoe stores. I can have that nearly anywhere else. I am not financially rich and I work hard to be able to live here. But I am rich because I GET to live here. I came here for the quality of live, for the beauty that surrounds us, for the pace of life and small town atmosphere. If we don’t step up and make choices to protect those things, even at a cost, we will all have lost and be the poorer for it.Our community’s future is in OUR hands, not in the statisticians and master plans, not in the local paper’s editors or publishers; ours.And finally, I have been trying to figure out why both you and Steve are against this project. There is one thought that crosses my mind, though I hope it is not true. That your vision is obstructed by the dollar signs in your eyes that development brings. That the thought of how many more ad pages you would have at the Daily and Trail if only there could be more development, more businesses, more real estate advertising, that YOUR lives would be so much better. I of course hope that you are both more than that, just as I hope our community can see past what’s presented in the pages of this paper and look for the truths themselves.Elizabeth KlausEagle-VailVail, Colorado


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