Brush Creek issues are numerous so let’s be thoughtful

Dear Editor:

Does anyone question the need for Affordable Housing in this Valley? I think not. We know there is a shortage that has been clearly defined in the Gunnison Valley Housing Needs Assessment. The question is, do we really need a big city development at the corner of Hwy. 135 and Brush Creek to be the solution? There appear to be so many unanswered questions and issues with this proposed development and if not answered correctly could result in a tremendous negative ripple effect in the Valley. As such, it is bewildering why the county is expediting such a potential risky proposition for this Valley. The proposed development is a 240-unit complex that will house upwards of 800 people. To accommodate parking, there will be 361 parking places for the residents. The concern is based on our population. These apartments will house families and many will be individual renters sharing an apartment with the likelihood each will have his/her own car. If the developer underestimates this number of needed parking spaces, there could be a serious parking situation as there is no parking on the street in the surrounding developments. Where will these cars park? Is the county going to allow them to park on Brush Creek Rd? This might not work well especially in winter. Or will they expect the tenants to park in town and walk or take the bus to their homes? Another impact of this large-scale big city development is the impact to traffic congestion at the intersection of Brush Creek and 135. Brush Creek Road is the sole entry/ exit point for nine developments on that corridor. Besides the existing traffic, the proposed development will add an RTA Center on Wright Ranch Rd. with upwards of 20 buses per day entering and exiting Brush Creek Rd. from Wright Ranch Rd and Hwy. 135. Adding the traffic from 800 new residents and the buses will create a no doubt foreseen traffic nightmare. It is highly likely we will have no choice but to put a stop light at the intersection to control the flow of traffic. The ripple effect is the majority of that traffic will head north in the Valley. We already have a traffic issue at the intersection by the school. A roundabout has been discussed in the past, but with this significant increase in new traffic—is it likely going to require a traffic light to manage the congestion and protection of our school children? Is this Valley really ready to face the beginnings of traffic lights in our charming little town? And one significant question is, why is the county, so to speak, putting all of their eggs in one basket—especially when the Housing Assessment clearly states that less than 18 percent of the local workers want to live in the Skyland, Buckhorn area (which also includes Meridian Lake, which is at the other end of the North Valley). The Assessment states that 62 percent want to live in Crested Butte, 16 percent in Mt. Crested Butte. So why is the county determined to make this development work when it does not align with the needs and wants of the residents? Are we forcing a housing solution that might not work? If so, what happens to this large scale big city development? If it does not succeed, will we have a large-scale debacle? With so many unanswered questions and other issues, rather than “expediting” this process, we should not ask but demand that our County Representatives along with the partners in this project— the Town of Crested Butte, the Town of Mt Crested Butte and Crested Butte Mountain Resort—take this project off the Expedite Train and put it on a slow and reasonable due diligence process to resolve these issues, hear public comment, and insure the solution delivered is one that meets the needs of the local workers and that results in a positive impact on the Valley. The county needs to determine does this project align with the culture, design, and beauty of the Valley—does this project meet the needs of our local workforce—or is the County really just trying to put a check box in the Affordable Housing column to say they did something although the something is the wrong something.

Mary Whitley,

Crested Butte