Ben Beall: TDR needs help
Editor’s note: Ben Beall is a former Routt County commissioner.
There are very few issues that affect the future of our community as much as land-use proposals. The Routt County Board of Commissioners is proposing a Transfer of Development Rights regulation that has the possibility of a) affecting the location of new residential growth, and b) promoting land conservation. These are two issues that are always near the top of concerns of Routt County citizens.
The commissioners have scheduled countywide meetings to discuss their proposal for TDR. The commissioners have said in an e-mail that “… we have made a conscious decision to not go back to square one and begin again a discussion of the complete range of issues surrounding TDR …” This position is not in keeping with the openness that Routt County is known for in its controversial land-use decisions.
If the commissioners carry through with their “damn the torpedoes” approach, the citizens of Routt County will see: a) the return of urban sprawl in our rural areas with the creation of 5-acre zoning; b) the rejection of the approved Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan; c) the usurpation of our municipality’s ability to direct growth; and d) the inability to manage growth by damaging the economic viability of the west Steamboat area as the area for growth in Steamboat Springs.
The commissioners are in denial that 61 percent of the voters of Steamboat Springs rejected the city’s annexation agreement with Steamboat 700 due to the failure of the agreement to adequately address many issues. The county’s TDR proposal does not address impacts to traffic, affordable housing, water and wastewater.
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The commissioners are in denial that at this time of economic downturn in the construction and housing market in Routt County that there is no need for 250 new residences. Routt County’s elected officials, citizens and homeowners would be well-served to carefully approach any new development at this time that could adversely affect existing projects and our future economy.
It is important that we create a better TDR proposal. It is important to let the commissioners know that we do not want to see the urban sprawl of 5-acre parcels in rural Routt County. It is important that the development rights being transferred are from areas under development pressure. It is important that the areas receiving the development rights benefit our municipalities, are areas suitable for growth and have been designated through a community planning process.
This issue is critical for the future of Routt County. Please attend the scheduled TDR meetings and help make the existing bad TDR proposal one that Routt County can be proud of. If you can’t attend, please contact the commissioners and let them know how you feel.
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