Telluride votes for open space over new development |

Telluride votes for open space over new development

The Telluride Daily Planet

Telluride voters let Town Council members know they want 100 percent of the south side of the Valley Floor area preserved as open space.

The Valentine’s Day vote forced residents to choose between furthering negotiations with developers from the San Miguel Valley Corp. or moving ahead with condemnation to acquire the property. The condemnation action, which voters favored 603-439, is currently stayed in court.

Reaction from some voters was jubilant.

“This vote shows that Telluride is not just another business opportunity,” said Luigi Chiarani, a longtime local.

“I definitely was scared,” Honga Im said. “This was a huge weight off my shoulders.”

A “Yes” vote would have sent the council working on an annexation and development agreement with the owners of the coveted piece of property who want to build 22 homes on the south side of the valley.

The Telluride Town Council, which had unanimously supported a “Yes” vote and continuing negotiations, had congregated at a restaurant but joined a gathering of “No” voters at the Tomboy Ale House once the results were announced.

Mayor John Pryor stood on a barstool and spoke to the assembled crowd, most of whom had opposed the mayor’s position. He spoke of a sense of relief and of a desire to “get this behind us.”

“It’s been such an emotional thing for the council ” and for all of us,” he said. “You can be assured this council will return to condemnation action.”