Letter: Save our open space
A common theme around the Vail Valley is the protection of open space and preservation of wildlife habitat supported by data that validates a significant decrease in herds of various species since 2000.
Additionally, the cry to address affordable workforce housing has existed in the valley for decades and continues. The challenge is finding an equitable balance between environmental stewardship and growth.
The battle lines have been drawn in Vail: Booth Heights development vs bighorn sheep. While the dust is beginning to settle on that front a new battle is emerging in Avon.
The town of Avon recently released a survey to gauge the pulse of Wildridge residents on a number of issues ranging from short-term rentals and workforce housing to wildfire mitigation.At face value, a good idea, right?
But look a bit closer and one question in particular tests whether or not residents are in favor of allowing the town to develop open space in Wildridge for a community/workforce housing project. Well, a few thoughts come to mind including:
- The town’s strategic plan highlights the need to protect open space.
- Workforce housing should be located near resources such as schools, restaurants, stores, etc. per town documents.
- And, oh, by the way, the town’s proposed development would blatantly violate the neighborhood’s protective covenants.
The town has stated on numerous occasions “they are under no obligation to enforce neighborhood covenants.” OK — but do they have, or should they have, carte blanche to violate neighborhood covenants and bulldoze the protected open space for more housing?
Many of us believe that responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices is key to retaining the quality and character that residents have come to appreciate and value.
We believe that this is not an either or scenario. Both the needs of environmental protection and workforce housing can be achieved, but not with the town of Avon’s current proposal.
It is notable that the residents of Vail, through their lobbying and voting efforts, appear to be making an impact. Vail’s current Town Council is demonstrating leadership in their efforts to find a win-win solution to their workforce housing and wildlife protection challenges.
There will be an election for three Avon council seats in November.
We hope voters will carefully vet candidates who will be capable of achieving a balance between the environmental stewardship and growth.
Pam and Peter Warren