Grauer: Remedy Roaring Fork’s democracy problem
The proposed Fields development in El Jebel would set a bad precedent for development of the mid-valley as “nodes” of suburban sprawl would fill it with traffic congestion, air pollution, and density, harmful to the sustainability of the ecosystem — including humans.
The Roaring Fork Valley Master Plan is the opposite of “smart growth,” which would keep development in urban areas and maintain low density and open space in between. It is fatally-flawed.
The Fields has insufficient affordable housing to meet our needs. The state disqualified it as “transit oriented development.”
The “nodes” of suburban sprawl would degrade traffic flow on Highway 82, making for longer commutes for workers from Carbondale to Rifle. Our working people would feel the most pain, not the Fields’ second-home owners.
Both Garfield County and the town of Basalt say the project does not bring enough public benefit to offset the negative impacts.
Eagle County engineers legally degraded traffic carrying standards but at the cost of corrupting the public development review.
The No. 1 complaint, from Glenwood Springs to Aspen is: traffic congestion and air pollution. The Fields increases that when there are already many commercial spaces and hundreds of residences under construction; at the Tree Farm, at $1,200 a square foot and in Basalt.
There is an Eagle County democracy problem right now. The majority of mid-valley residents believe that they not being properly represented. Neither the Roaring Fork Planning Commission nor the county commissioners seem to be listening.
County commissioners should remedy the democracy problem by placing a referendum about limiting Roaring Fork Valley development on the next ballot. Then they would actually know what the majority of citizens desire for their future well-being.