Letters to the Editor
Wary of developers
To Kathy Heicher and Pam Boyd of the Eagle Valley Enterprise: Thank you for great coverage of last week’s town meeting regarding the update to the Eagle Area Community Plan. Yes, it was an inspiration for some of us older guard who worked through the first process 10 years ago, and it was so encouraging to see that people who have lived here for a shorter period of time have grasped what it is that is so great about this town. It’s about community, neighbors, and the freedom to live in relative simplicity and safety compared to much of the “crazy” world out there.
I would like to comment on Kathy Heicher’s observation that a couple of huge developments were waiting in the wings at that point 10 years ago, because there is a lesson here as we try to bring our planning document up to speed in 2007. Kathy said that “developers listened in on the meetings and fell in line with the values of the master plan.” Wrong. They were literally AT the table. They were active within the process, and very, very, persuasive in creating a master plan that fit exactly what they had on the drawing board to create, as Kathy said, the far more successful development, namely Eagle Ranch, the biggest change in Eagle’s history.
And now, we once again have foxes in the hen house laying out the best plan for plucking all the hens. It happened at Eagle Ranch, and it can happen again at Eagle River Station, Haymeadows, Adam’s Rib Ranch, all of whom are represented in this new planning process, and who will no doubt hard-sell their causes. Perhaps it’s fair that these major stakeholders have a say in the future of their own personal lotteries, but I would caution the everyday citizens who sit on the advisory committee to keep a clear vision about the mission you have been selected to accomplish. Listen to your constituents who last week very clearly voiced their desire to not forget what the Town of Eagle represents to them and their families. A Town Hall, filled with 150 people, sent the strong message that they don’t want Eagle’s character to change.
They love the place they moved to and don’t want to see it swallowed up in traffic jams, crowded schools, and all of the impacts caused by simply trying to accommodate all who would like to live here.
Label us however you would like; NIMBYs or concerned citizens fighting to retain our quality of life. Either way, we are residents of the Eagle area that are counting on the Eagle Town Board, Eagle Planning Department, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee and the professional planner assisting this update process to hear our combined voices and reaffirm that the Eagle Area Community Plan’s vision is to “preserve and protect” the quality of life we enjoy here today.
We need growth
I was one of the attendees at the first public meeting regarding the update of the Eagle Area Community Plan, on Feb. 21. My sense of the prevailing feeling in the room was that we should simply stop residential and commercial growth in Eagle, all in an effort to keep it small and preserve all the things that we like about the Town of Eagle today.
I very much want Eagle to continue being a community of families who live here full time, working, living, and enjoying what this Western Slope town has to offer. Putting a fence or walls around Eagle (limiting growth) may very well work against that. By limiting growth our homes will become lucrative financial opportunities for investors who really don’t care about the fabric of our town.
It can be argued that residential growth doesn’t pay for itself. I agree that beyond the initial payment of impact, permit, and tap fees it probably costs Eagle more to provide the services that will maintain our quality of life than we pay in property taxes.
Those one-time-only fees, which are paid by new development, have made up a substantial portion of the towns annual budget lately. Stopping growth dries up one of the town’s primary income sources.
If we were able to limit the development of additional residential properties, and prices continued to rise, where are the new teachers, policemen, firemen, and other people who work in the service sector going to live? Not Eagle, it will be too expensive.
I suggest that Eagle should be more proactive by being at the forefront, as a community, in helping address the valley’s affordable housing dilemma. Affordable housing will keep the community’s demographic profile diverse and avoid having a single class of just wealthy second-home owners. New residential development should be designed in a way that preserves our wonderful scenic views and provides habitat for wildlife. It must be developed with a significant amount of open space, where wildlife can continue to roam.
As much as I wish, like many people in the public meeting room that evening, that I could stop the growth, I don’t think it’s possible or a wise choice to make. We need to manage and influence it to our advantage, in order to protect what’s important to us as citizens of the Town of Eagle.
Missed the point
Greg Chandler misses the point of my response to Ryan Sutter, which is that in scientific terms, the claim of 90 percent is nowhere near certain. The International Panel on Climate Change has not proved the link between human activity and climate change, and until it addresses the cause of previous episodes of global warming its claims remain speculative.
None of this means that we should not try to reduce carbon emissions.
It does mean that we should not blindly rush into agreements to hog-tie industry in the U.S. and developed countries with consequent loss of jobs and dislocation, while developing nations like China and India are free to pollute at will. The effects on national security have not even been discussed.
The Kyoto Treaty demands amount to a surreptitious transfer of wealth from developed countries to the developing world, without compensation and without any reduction in worldwide emissions. Many nations that signed the Treaty are only now discovering the real cost of their commitment and the impossibility in practical terms of honoring it.
D. Farrell Cordes