Lipstick on the Tree Farm

The developer of the proposed midvalley project, “The Tree Farm,” claims that residents will think of it for its “trees, trees, trees.” In reality, motorists stuck in the midvalley traffic jams it causes will think of him for “traffic, traffic, traffic.”

Ace Lane and his band of consultant/cheerleaders seem to be buffaloing the Eagle County commissioners into accepting a city-sized development along Highway 82 where it can cause the most traffic congestion — opposite the Whole Foods/City Market area. With a thin veneer of affordable housing and some photo-electric generation, they “paint the pig” as “sustainable.”

These planted trees and photo-electric cells will be overwhelmed by particulents and air pollution generated by the congestion of cars, trucks and buses jamming Highway 82, degrading the air quality of the entire Roaring Fork Valley. A reasonable amount of development is not the issue; done right, it’s reasonable to expect some infill in the midvalley. However, this project is the opposite of smart growth; it’s an oversized recipe for suburban sprawl and strip malls on Highway 82.

County commissioners need to see through the camouflage haze that the development team is emitting and either deny the project, or reduce it to half the original request.

The two official referring entities from the midvalley, the Roaring Fork Planning Commission and the town of Basalt, have already indicated their strong disapproval of the project. Although there has been a smattering of citizen support, the overwhelming number of midvalley residents, who have shown up repeatedly at public meetings for many months, have called for the proposal to be severely curtailed or denied.

If Eagle commissioners approve the project, citizens will have to wonder why they did not listen to the concerns of their constituents and government bodies, appointed and elected, in the midvalley. The current project would be an example lack of representation of Eagle County citizens in the midvalley over the narrow interests of a developer.

Bernie Grauer

Basalt Town Council