Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Steamboat 700

Here is a letter to the editor I just submitted. I have struggled with whether to support this since the beginning as I explain below. That is not the normal path for me. To be honest I never expected to support Steamboat 700 even though I thought along that they would get to the point of meeting the WSSAP's objectives.

Start of my letter:
Your article supporting Steamboat 700 is very well thought out and your points are well taken. For the record I never thought I would support Steamboat 700 because I was worried that it was too big and nervous about adding too much at once. The more I have dug into the issue and thought about how things will develop with or without Steamboat 700 I can't get around the fact that this is the only way to add the infrastructure we need for the growth that is coming. It will happen much further from town with no contribution if we don't allow Steamboat 700. I'd rather take some risk than face the nearly certain consequences of inaction. This is the first time I have supported Steamboat 700 in public or private. Just like everyone else I am very concerned about anything that could change Steamboat. Yes, I am an active real estate broker but I see Steamboat's livability and charm as the most important reason that my family is here along with those of my clients.

I believe that it is critical to make it possible for all of our friends along with people like teachers and nurses to become long term members of the community they make possible. They have earned this and will continue to do so. It shouldn't be too easy or doable on a whim but it should be possible for those that have dedicated themselves to living here and make our community special. I am nearly certain it is likely to reduce my own property values in town by having additional supply close by so this is not an economic judgement. For me it comes down to just a few things.

1 - Steamboat 700 is as close to the WSSAP as we are likely to get. Despite his ads to the contrary Kevin Bennett created this plan along with the water agreement that benefits that land. His signature is on the document. We asked for this and they have done a remarkably good job delivering it. Yes it would be wonderful to get more for "free" that is not really free but we don't live in a candy store where everything costs 5 cents.

2- We live in a beautiful, special, extraordinary place that is so compelling we have all worked much harder and made significant comprises to be here. This passion is one of the things that makes Steamboat even better. That is nothing new, most of us can only imagine how hard it was for Steamboat's founding families to make a life here especially in the winter. Great people like John Fetcher could have lived anywhere but they chose to live here and worked hard to make it special.

These compromises couldn't be more worth it and others will continue to be willing to make the same choices. I meet these people every week in my business and understand it well. My wife Wendy & I made this choice and couldn't be happier that we did. We need to do anything we can to protect what is great about Steamboat using plans that will actually be effective. I haven't been able to think of a way that not doing this development will actually achieve this goal. The Pilot is right to say it will only push people out further in the county, increase commuting, pollution and get nothing from that growth to help pay for the increased demands on our community's roads, schools and other infrastructure. If demand does not materialize there is no way it will get built so approving it does not put us at risk.

3- The biggest reason for me is precedent, there is not a lot of question what will happen if you look at Aspen and Vail. They have have not planned close in for the growth that has come and will continue to come. We have friends in both places and it is considered normal for people to commute from 30-60 minutes into town to work and play. They both have a slew of problems and a weaker community because of this. Housing in town is nearly unattainable and families have less time together as a result. I have played endless scenarios in my head and can't think of a way that we will be different if we take the same path.

I want a community that is together all day, remains a special place and has the resources to pay for the long term growth that will come either way. Those of us who were not born in Steamboat were lucky to be accepted by this wonderful community. We should be grateful for that and also take responsibility for keeping it a special place. That doesn't mean we should close the pass behind us. That is purely fantasy and will be the fastest path to pushing us and our neighbors out of town just like has happened in Aspen / Vail. This is a very tough decision but is has been studied and negotiated by our fellow citizens / representatives with tons of public input. I now have arrived to the same conclusion and trust them to implement this deal. I know it will not be perfect, nothing is but it will clearly be far better than the alternative.


Jon Wade

1 comment:

Tom said...

You are very articulate and It's evident how much thought and effort you put into your letter.