Letter: Pull the plug on Berlaimont proposal already | VailDaily.com

Letter: Pull the plug on Berlaimont proposal already

After a year and a half of well-reasoned comments and letters, public input at government-sponsored meetings, informational meetings with the public and the county commissioners, nearly all in opposition to the Berlaimont proposal, coupled with a law that does not permit miles of two-lane paved road through national forest, how is this proposal still being considered? It defies the “wild” nature of national forests, practicality, logic, aesthetics, and a common sense application of the law.

Permitting this development would be like permitting several roads to luxury homes built in the middle of Ford Park! Simply incongruous! Does luxury development within national forests lie ahead, benefiting those who choose to “develop” their in-holdings, using Berlaimont as a precedent? No, approving Berlaimont Estates would irreparably damage public land and wildlife habitat and destroy the peaceful refuge and outdoor recreation that citizens enjoy there. Approval would add fire-fighting safety concerns and add a huge cost for county road services year round.  

Berlaimont’s owners did not buy 680 acres to have a family cabin in the mountains with dirt road seasonal access. Do the Berlaimont owners think that citizens of Eagle County are such bumpkins that we don’t know their intention was to build a luxury development? They knew what the laws were concerning access, but they knew they could obtain access “later” by hook or by crook, the variances they wanted: miles of two-lane, paved access and year-round maintenance paid for by us, Eagle County taxpayers! Mr. Fitzwilliams, don’t permit this manipulation of the US Forest Service.

Fitzwilliams says “the law is not particularly clear and words like “adequate” and “reasonable use” are not definitive.” I find them clear, but Mr. Fitzwilliams’ uncertainty is all the more reason for him to study Berlaimont further, and not base the decision on an issue specific to Alaska. 

I find Mr. Fitzwilliams’ statement misguided that “our job is not to put value judgments on whether a private development is good or bad.” Well, it should be your job! Does Fitzwilliams not remember that without historic, heart and soul “value judgments” we would not even have beautiful national parks and forests to visit and enjoy? My son commented that Fitzwilliams’ statement exposes Fitzwilliams’ own value judgments — and they don’t align with the position of supervisor/manager/protector of our national forest. Are we to ignore and abandon value judgments? No, they are essential! This is a national forest, not Beverly Hills! How can Fitzwilliams think that a 19-home, luxury development, with miles of paved roads, in the middle of a national forest, is acceptable! The Berlaimont proposal should be denied.  

Maria Minick


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