How not to win friends and influence people

Dear Editor:

The Corner at Brush Creek Proposal is so wrong-headed in so many ways. From the excessive density of the project, to the lack of truly affordable units, to the traffic problems it will cause, to the wastewater treatment problems, to the supposed sale of a $2 million public property for the bargain price of $100,000. To the problems with snow storage, to the view corridor, to the number of dogs, to the burden on the schools and emergency services, and to the questions about who will fund the additional RTA routes/traffic lights/sewer lines etc. And that’s not an exhaustive list. The county commissioners and Mr. Gates say that they are simply addressing the real and serious need for affordable housing. Some say those who oppose the project are just a bunch of NIMBYs. The path that Mr. Gates and the county commissioners have taken so far on this project is shockingly confrontational. The commissioners and Mr. Gates and perhaps a few others at the county level, seem determined to shove this down the throat of the local residents, presumably because they know what’s best for us all. Well let me remind you county commissioners that you are elected, and Mr. Gates that you and your family have decided to live among us. The people you are not listening to (and thereby pissing off), prepare your food, care for you in emergencies, fix your plumbing, paint your house, teach your children, recreate with you, live next to you, and vote. At the most recent meeting on the project held by the Crested Butte Town Council, only one of the three county commissioners was present, Mr. Messner and Mr. Houck were nowhere to be seen. Do they really care what their constituents think about this project? And Mr. Gates continues to tell us the story of his family and how his son needs workers at his business but they can’t afford to live here. Mr. Gates, you do not need to explain to us that we need affordable housing. We get it. Many of us at these meetings have businesses here, much longer than your son has, and we have seen this problem grow over the years first-hand. If you listen, what people don’t want is this particular project as it is currently proposed. For example, we have told you your rental rates and the supposed renters for this project are off-base. One attendee asked a young local workforce representative what rent he paid; he replied $440 per month. For those of us who employ workers here or have friends/ relatives looking for housing this isn’t news. The workers who desperately need housing need units that rent for $400 to $500 per month. And we need lots of them, not four or five. On Thursday night Mr. Gates said he intended this to be a “collaborative effort”—that is a 180 degree turn from his flat response of “no” in July when asked by Skyland homeowners if he would consider working a compromise on the proposal. Mr. Gates, Mr. Messner, and Mr. Houck, if you really want to help the situation, use your talents and work with the community to find the right solution. Currently some of the opponents to this plan, who happen to have quite a bit of experience in housing development, are doing just that. So, county commissioners and Mr. Gates, put your money where your mouth is and join these people and the GVRHA to really develop a solution to our housing needs—one that works financially, environmentally, and socially for the community—because as it stands it appears it’s just about putting money in your pocket or a line on your resume.

Laura Anderson Irwin, Owner, Back at the Ranch Home Furnishings