A plea to Pitkin County
August 11, 2009
LET THEM EAT CAKE! As a Garfield County resident, that is what I hear from the commissioners regarding the proposed Sutey Ranch land swap.
There appear to be three main objections to the swap that I would like to address.
First, we are told such swap is not in the best interests of Pitkin County residents. Please, this sounds like the worst of George Bush and his America-first-at-all-costs policies. Increasingly the world’s problems don’t stop at borders. We, as a community of the Roaring Fork Valley, cannot overlook the interdependence of all our communities. Garfield County doesn’t have the restrictive land use policies of Pitkin County and Aspen. It is admirable that upvalley has been preserved to the extent it has. But let’s get real. Aspen’s tourist economy could not survive without the worker-bee commute upvalley. Garfield County houses an essential portion of Pitkin County’s employees and as a result has suffered from an uncomfortable rate of growth. Garfield County has been needed to help Aspen and environs remain pristine.
I hear that Garfield County needs to step up and make arrangements to set aside open space. That is true. It should. Things are slowly changing. Unfortunately, there are some political realities that need to be recognized. Western Garfield County has elected a majority of its commissioners since forever. However, Carbondale, which stands to benefit the most from the swap, has clearly demonstrated much more of a progressive land-use policy than the county it resides in. Why punish Bonedale? Give it a tip of the hat and reward it for thinking ahead. Punishing Carbondale for Garfield County’s policies is like when the entertainment industry boycotted Aspen because of the State of Colorado’s policies on gay rights. In both instances the wrong people get punished.
I hear that there is no plan by the BLM to manage the Sutey Ranch. That’s bad. Of course there should be a plan. But if there is no swap there never can be a plan except a plan for a massive subdivision, lots more people and increased traffic going in and out of the S-curves. Don’t cut off your noses to spite your faces.
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Please, Pitkin County, don’t be petty. The land you may want to keep in Pitkin County is extremely inaccessible and will be used by almost no one. The Sutey Ranch will be used by many. Toss Carbondale a bone and you will be doing all the Roaring Fork Valley a favor. Don’t tell us to eat cake.