Moratorium on action | VailDaily.com

Moratorium on action

Don RogersDaily Managing Editor

Such a fuss over this moratorium to be. It’s not as if a nine-month suspension on allowing an owner of, say, agricultural acreage to win approval to set it up on paper for a subdivision will make a whit of difference in the county’s pace of growth. With over 12,000 homes approved for construction now, what’s the beef? This moratorium would be about as effective as the Kyoto treaty on global warming. Feel good stuff, for sure. No one should fool themselves that it’s going to slow construction in Eagle County, though.The government gibberish – we all have our jargons – for what the county commissioners aim to freeze is “upzoning.” That is, changing land zoned for ranches or other rural spreads to provide for neighborhoods. Not that there are any projects on the table right now for county land, mind you.Nine months is too short to have any tangible effect. Oh, it might give county staff time to overhaul land use regulations and standards. But the commissioners simply can make like Nancy Reagan and just say no to zoning changes with their authority today. And simply ask staff to do the same thing without the drama of declaring a “moratorium” on anything other than hot air.The growth to come lies in the towns – Gypsum, Avon and Minturn spring immediately to mind. The county can’t do a thing about that.Frankly, this inconsequential step has the feel of making noise without making progress. Let’s get to the real debate about steps to limit growth that actually would make a difference: sunset clauses on previous approvals for developments; defining growth zones and more importantly, adhering to them (Eaton Ranch was one); saying no to project proposals to build outside areas served by sewer and water service; prohibiting development in critical wildlife areas; not allowing development on ridgelines or hazardous areas.And so on.Discussing a wimpy, short moratorium on paperwork is nothing but a waste of time, frankly. It’s unworthy of builders complaining when they have plenty to keep them busy. It’s unworthy of commissioners’ attention. It squanders precious staff hours that ought to go toward actually solving the problems of growth. Enough toe-dipping. Dive in.Vail, Colorado