Jon Wade: Support 700
October 11, 2009
I never thought I would support Steamboat 700 because it seems like too much at once. The more I think about how things will develop with or without Steamboat 700, I can’t get around the fact that this is the only way to plan for the growth that is coming either way. I’d rather take some risk than face the consequences of inaction.
I am an active real estate broker but I see Steamboat’s livability as the most important reason that my family is here along with those of my clients. It’s that simple.
I believe it is critical to make it possible for all of our friends, especially people like teachers, to become permanent members of the community. It shouldn’t be too easy, but it has to be possible. I believe it will reduce my own property values in town by having options close by, so this is not an economic judgment. For me it comes down to just a few things.
Steamboat 700 is as close to the West Steamboat Springs Area Plan as we are likely to get. The West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan was vetted and approved by previous city councils. We asked for this, and the developers have done a remarkable job delivering it. Yes, it would be wonderful to get more for “free,” but these costs fall back on the people who will live there.
Steamboat is extraordinary, a place that is so compelling that we each work much harder to be here. This passion makes Steamboat even better. It’s nothing new – we 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 Steamboat and worked to make it special.
It couldn’t be more worth it, and others will happily make the same choices. My wife and I did and couldn’t be happier. We need to protect what is great about Steamboat using plans that actually will be effective and not just a wish. I can’t think of a way that not doing this development will actually achieve this goal. The Pilot & Today is right to say (“Council should approve Steamboat 700,” Viewpoints editorial, Oct. 7) it will only push people out farther in the county, increase commuting, pollution and get nothing from that growth to help pay for the increased demands on our community’s infrastructure. That is not even a question. If demand does not materialize, it will not get built, so approving it does not put us at risk.
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The biggest reason is precedent; there is not a lot of question what will happen if you look at Aspen and Vail. They have not planned close in for growth. In Aspen and Vail it is considered normal for people to commute between 30 and 60 minutes to work and play.
Don’t we 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 all should take responsibility for keeping it a special place. Closing the pass only is a fantasy and is truly the fastest path to pushing good people out of town just like what has happened in Aspen and Vail. This is a very tough decision, but it has been studied and negotiated by our fellow citizens and should be by you. I trust them to implement the best possible deal. It will not be perfect – nothing is – but clearly it will be far better than the alternative.