Initiative means accountability |

Initiative means accountability

Snowmass Town Council has before it an initiative that gives the voters of the town a voice when huge developments are proposed ” which are so large as to fundamentally change the character of the town, and whose passage would so ignore the land-use code as to make a mockery of it.

The initiative is designed to hold the council accountable to the land-use code. Currently, the council is unaccountable because due to a loophole it can simply ignore the code’s limits. The initiative’s passage would mean that if the council wants to ignore the code past a generous margin it first has to get voters’ agreement.

Limits to authority, known as checks and balances, are usual in representative government. For example, our Town Council cannot issue bonds even for as little as $1 million without voter approval. Requiring voter approval for radical zoning variances is a logical addition to this kind of common sense limit on council authority.

The initiative was designed to be reasonable by former public officials “who have been there.” Yet council members have expressed unhappiness with the initiative for a reason common in all walks of life: People in power dislike giving up even the smallest degree of their power. Accountability is a necessary, but, alas, bitter pill.

Citizens for Responsible Growth (CRG) supports a right-sized Base Village. The current mass is still too large. Please join us in our efforts to encourage council to find a compromise with the developer and to think smaller. CRG wants a Base Village that enhances economics and quality of life.

Jim Heywood

Snowmass Village