A flawed process
(This letter was originally sent to the Pitkin County commissioners.)I am a member of the silent majority who resides in Pitkin County. Seldom in my 30-plus years living in the Crystal River Valley have I written the BOCC expressing strong feelings with regard to county government. I bristle at the proposed Resource Conservation zoning. As commissioners, you are well aware that PERCEPTIONS, rightly or wrongly, can become the truth. So I write about the perceived role of the BOCC in this issue. We live in a democracy. Citizens most often make wise decisions when all the facts are presented to them. However, there are strong reactions by those same citizens when they feel ignored or are being manipulated by elected officials. The strongest perception is that the proposed zoning has come in a heavy-handed manner from the top down. It is strongly felt that the commissioners have manipulated the process to get what they want. Citizens did not have input, nor were the Planning and Zoning commissioners truly involved in the process. You have violated your own due process of public input first, in front of the P&Z, which in turn would make recommendations to the BOCC. The BOCC points to the county’s White Paper supporting revisions to the current Pitkin County Land Use Code. I have read the paper. Where did this come from? Who was the author? I don’t recall the conclusions presented in the White Paper! It appears to me that the county’s hypothesis was, “There will be specific zoning changes.” Then the White Paper was written to support the hypothesis. This is a flawed process. You are to be applauded for the smooth process of seeking input for the telecommunications/radio/TV towers. While the standards set by the BOCC were high, the process was fair and evenhanded. Inanimate objects such as towers, signals and waves perhaps are issues more easily resolved than people issues. Resource Conservation zoning is a people issue. The reality is that these ranching families love the land every bit as much as the BOCC. Maybe the two sides would be closer to agreement if the process was different. Why couldn’t the BOCC reopen the process, this time allowing citizen input first? Horses, when they are mistreated and abused, become mean, ornery and skittish. I know in the past the BOCC has been out-maneuvered by slick lawyers and greedy landowners, but that is no reason to be mean, ornery and skittish to these longtime ranching families. A horse whisperer rebuilds trust, confidence and respect in mistreated horses. Perhaps we humans need a horse whisperer for this zoning issue. Larry PuleoCarbondale
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