Letter: The Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus separation process
Some Snowmass Creek residents have proposed splitting the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus in two, with a new Snowmass Creek Caucus.
A seriously flawed process was used for this, which is being considered by the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners under existing flawed statutes. This application should be tabled, the vote postponed until “code clean-up and charter changes” are researched and modified and a new caucus vote done with a fair, representative process for all residents in the Snowmass Creek Valley. A mediated solution prevents the need for a new caucus.
This proposed separation is rooted in revisions to the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Master Plan. Proponents are concerned with transferable development rights and impacts on property values. Organizers tried to be heard in letters, public meetings of the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus and 50-plus letters. They believe, with merit, they have been ignored and that the plan doesn’t address their concerns. The caucus has acknowledged that a more open, responsive, communicative approach was appropriate. Further discussion or changes to the plan is on indefinite hold until the issues are addressed and resolved. The transferable-development-rights language will be removed from the plan and deferred to the county. Much of the communication failure emanated from an email error. Fifty letters to the caucus board were mostly diverted to junk mail due to the subject title and electronic process used to send the message. Most of the board did not see the letters. A subsequent public meeting in July, for anyone to air their grievances, attended by 50-plus people, had no representation from the Snowmass Creek Caucus organizers.
Snowmass Creek Caucus proponents were offered the opportunity for open, mediated discussions of their issues. They have flatly refused, preferring to go it alone. This just doesn’t make rational sense and appears to be rooted in a perceived insult over the lack of responsiveness by the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus.
The vote to split, on July 11, was with only one week’s advance notice (via email) to some residents. Only those who live in Lazy O Ranch (not on Snowmass Creek Road) and off of Snowmass Creek Road past the T with Capitol Creek Road to the end were allowed to vote, excluding Gateway, Capitol Creek and East Sopris. The process was highly irregular and the time very short. Caretakers and renters couldn’t vote. Many people did not know what they were voting on or why, and some regretted a “yes” vote once they understood. Many did not receive the email notice, were out of town or could not discern the purpose of the vote or why there was no advance discussion of the issues from both sides. The voting process was not private and controlled by the organizers, and some were not allowed to vote though their spouses were. Overall, the process was hastily thrown-together and confusing, with limited advance information or alternative discussion.
If you believe you were not represented at the July 11 vote for the creation of a new caucus, please attend the Board of Commissioners public hearing on Sept. 14 and express your opinion or write to the Board of Commissioners if you can’t attend.
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