Opinion Opinion |
Fewer people, not more houses
Why do we keep hearing that we need more rental housing? What we need is fewer people. Our city administrators need to realize that we will never be able to build enough housing for everyone that is going to want to live here, even if we allowed developers to build on every square foot of available land in town. Don’t you all feel the overcrowding here every time you venture into town, the cars, the wait at restaurants? We cannot keep thinking that we are somehow going to just come out of the severe drought that we have been in for years now.
We cannot sustain the onslaught of new people that want to be here. And the only way to control excessive growth is through housing. The city of Glenwood should put a commercial building moratorium in place right now.
The Diemoz family’s latest full page article in the paper about the proposed development on their land in West Glenwood makes it sound like they are doing a great thing for the community. If they truly wanted to be good stewards of this community, they would put that land in an agricultural easement, or make a deal with the city to keep it as open space, like a park.
So what do you think is keeping them from doing that? That’s right, money. They stand to make a lot of money on the sale, plain and simple. After being here for five generations, you would hope they would have a better outlook for the community than adding to the overcrowding we already have. I doubt very much that if Adolph Diemoz (whom I had the great pleasure of meeting) were here today, he would want to see more apartment buildings put on that land rather than pasturing horses.
We have to put an end to this overbuilding in our community before we lose this wonderful mountain town.
Need a development reset
The proposed dense housing development in what has been a pasture behind the mall has drawn near unanimous opposition from residents and businesses in the area, for very sound, non-NIMBY reasons. Like unwillingness to remedy longstanding neglect of safety and basic services.
But I think the question before council is more basic. It asks us all to acknowledge that we are in a completely unprecedented situation. It brings the immediate demands of planning for increasing climate disordered disasters into conflict with the area’s increasingly unstable dependence on its tourism and recreation economy.
Until now, the low-wage “essential workers” could just move farther west, continue driving 150 miles a day to work upvalley in their gas-guzzling cars. But they can’t afford even that anymore. And the land can’t afford for them to keep doing it. And that chasm between the rich and their servants has destroyed any sense of common interests.
After this teetering economy, which has maxed out both inequality and environmental degradation, collapses, what will take its place?
Is there a common good to be made that will allow all those who live in and care for their land and each other to be a community? We’ve come to think of land and people as “resources.” I think it was Joseph Meeker who once wrote, “A resource is something that’s valued only for its ability to be turned into something else.” Those somethings become commodities. If our homes are commodities, our jobs are commodities, our neighbors are commodities, are those what our community has turned into?
This is the real bedrock question that demands a reset, a new comprehensive plan undertaken with wiser priorities. And that demands a “no” to the pasture development proposal as a start, a gesture of good faith and resolve before all is lost.
Improve Cottonwood Pass
I know you are aware of the situation in Glenwood Canyon. During these canyon closures, the critical link for local traffic between Gypsum/Eagle County and Glenwood Springs is Cottonwood Pass. If not for this pass, a 30-minute commute becomes five to six hours, making working on either side of the canyon impractical if you live on the other side.
Please consider immediate funds and support to improve this critical roadway and make it a usable four-season roadway. There is one section in particular — on the east end where the road is little wider than one lane and on a winding hillside. This is in desperate need of improvements, and a team effort between Eagle County and the state, for both funds and engineering support is needed to complete this in a timely manner.
We both know that the burn scar situation in the canyon will not be solved soon, and a viable, local route is needed to support the workers who live in Garfield County and work in Eagle County. That situation is for another time, but suffice it to say that the lack of affordable housing in Eagle County has forced many tradesmen and other workers to move to Garfield County to be able to afford to live in the area.
Please contact Eagle County administration ASAP to coordinate these much-needed improvements to maintain the economy of our county.
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