Vail Daily letter: Public participation in Eagle River Station vote | VailDaily.com
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Vail Daily letter: Public participation in Eagle River Station vote

Rosie Shearwood
Eagle, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaly.com

Decades ago, the Eagle area was embroiled in controversy surrounding the looming prospect of huge development on Brush Creek, the Adam’s Rib Ski Area and Resort.

The developer bounced his proposal back and forth between the town and the county, making it terribly difficult for citizens to stay informed about what it was, where it was going, and how it would affect the people who lived here.

And by “the people who lived here,” I mean everyone who lived in the area, which at that time pretty much meant citizens of the town of Eagle, Brush Creek, and the comparatively sparsely populated surrounding areas.



But whether the proposal was before the Town Board or the county commissioners, every person’s voice was heard with respect and weighed equally.

Never once was there a signup sheet to determine where you lived and thus your power, because it didn’t matter. We were all in it together — the good, the bad and the ugly — and we all recognized our lives would be forever impacted by our officials’ decisions. Had a major ski area been built close to my home, I wouldn’t live here today, and I know there are residents who live on Highway 6 who feel the same way about Eagle River Station and have expressed their concerns about it.

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That’s not NIMBY-ism. That’s exercising your right to protect your own future.

Then those governmental bodies formed their opinions, they voted their decisions, and we the people had to live with the results. That’s what they were elected to do. Whether we liked it or not, that was the process, and in my opinion, still should be.

At one point, those who didn’t like the town’s position of “no” rallied a recall effort, as was their right. On that issue alone, only registered voterscould vote and the recall was soundly defeated, and the process worked as it should have.



But now the equally divisive question of major development itself has been handed over to only those who can vote. Those of us who can’t vote, but surely will be affected by what the voters of Eagle decide, are being criticized-ridiculed for our displeasure with this situation.

Here’s my observation: If many of we non-voters had not raised a lot of hell (as Paulo puts it) about changing our town and our lives forever with massive development, those of you who have since moved here because you love Eagle, its community, and its way of life probably wouldn’t have found it nearly so appealing.

Your lovely town would have had a Minturn-esque bedroom community feel and you’d have had a major highway right through the gut of it. Perhaps you’d have chosen to live in the outskirts of Grand Junction, where you could include shopping as one of its major attractions.

I’m afraid the Eagle Town Board has done the entire area a disservice, has stepped out of the line of fire, and has chosen a way to avoid a tough and contentious decision while looking good at the same time. “The people should decide” sounds good except they really won’t, just a select few will.

I’d also suggest voting “no” on the referendum and let the developer come back with a better plan in three years when they’re really interested in building. Then insist the town make a decision based on pros and cons and what they hear from all of the people who will be impacted. Eagle and all of us will survive until then.

Rosie Shearwood

Eagle


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