Ben Beall: The vote is over; let’s work together
The annexation campaign and vote is over. It was an interesting campaign. The community voted for the annexation. But the proponents of the annexation and the opposition both campaigned on similar platforms with the main planks being: 1. Protect our community character by maintaining the vision created in our community plans; and 2. The need for housing affordability.
The irony of this campaign was that the two sides were always talking the same main issues. The difference was the Yes to Locals’ Housing committee was positive on the annexation and the Let’s Vote Steamboat leaders wanted to change the details in the annexation agreement.
Now that the vote has been decided it is time that we all unite and support the two main issues that have defined this vote and our community for many years: 1. A vision of community that directs development to the municipalities and maintains our rural agricultural lands; and 2. Create a development pattern where people who work in the community can live in the community.
There was a lot of good energy in the campaign. We need to keep that energy and participate in two planning projects that are ongoing.
1. Routt County is updating the Routt County Master Plan last updated in 2003. This plan is the most important vision document of Routt County. It sets the guidelines for the future development of Routt County. This is where the community vision begins. This is where the community character, rural and agricultural lands and open spaces, all begins. This is where we begin to address livable communities by directing growth to the county’s growth centers. The Routt County Planning Commission is in the process of seeing what changes should be made. Public meetings will be held throughout the county to get public input. Watch for the announcements and participate.
2. The Steamboat Springs City Council is in the process of reviewing the regulations for short-term rentals. During the campaign it was a talking point for both sides that short-term rentals take rental housing off the market that could be used for our working families. Brynn Grey, knowing that this is not only a local issue but a global one, does not allow short-term rentals in their developments. Short-term rentals destroy the character of neighborhoods. Neighborhoods become commercial areas instead of family-friendly areas. We all need to attend the City Council meetings and demand that, more than just adjustments to the short-term rental regulations, short-term rentals need to be curtailed and eventually phased out.
Instead of just saying “yes” or “no,” we need solutions.
Ben Beall, former Routt County commissioner
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