Adults need to step up and be real with Brush Creek

To the Gunnison County Commissioners, the Gunnison County Planning Commission, the City Council of the Town of Crested Butte and the City Council of Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado: My only question is where have the adults gone? If they can be found, I would ask that they please stop for a moment and look at where our elected officials are taking us by approving the development of the 240 unit Gatesco Project at the corner of Brush Creek and HWY 135— down a path of irreparable change and detriment to our way of life in the Northern Valley which will forever change this small, end of the road, charming mining town, with all of its beauty, tranquility, grandeur and peace into a area with big buildings, dense development and the hustle and bustle of lots of cars, traffic and people, an environment similar to Summit County, Colorado along the I-70 corridor. None of the residents of the Northern Valley want this. The simple facts are that the Gatesco Project fails to offer meaningful solutions to satisfy the Essential Housing needs of the Valley in accordance with the goals set forth in the Gunnison Valley Housing Needs Assessment. The Gatesco Project does create an approximate 190,000 square foot set of structures on 11 acres of land, less than two miles from Crested Butte, in the midst of low density residential neighborhoods, which will create massive traffic problems, dense housing for up to 816 people, commercial uses, increased attendance at our schools which are currently at capacity, unknown issues with water and sewer and fire and police protection, pressure on our trail systems, intrusion into existing residential neighborhoods of 480-plus dogs, and increased costs (and associated taxes) for infrastructure needs, school expansion and fire and police protection, all or most of which will be paid by the taxpayers of Gunnison County or the citizens of Crested Butte and/or Mt. Crested Butte. Additionally, there are serious issues as to whether or not (i) Gunnison County has the authority to contract to sell the Brush Creek without the approval of all of its partners, and (ii) the Brush Creek Property can be sold for less than fair market value (price purported to be $100,000). We do not need to spend one more second listening to the dialogue (with background violins playing) about losing the Magic of our Valley as a result of our workforce leaving due to a shortage of Essential Housing. We all acknowledge that there is a serious problem resulting from the lack of Essential Housing in our Valley and we are all committed to find a solution. The facts are, if the Gatesco Project is developed, the Magic of our Valley will be gone forever. What we do need is for our elected representatives to immediately take the following action: 1. Stop the current Planning Commission review process and table all activities. 2. Review the LUR, which provides that new development cannot go forward in the event that it is not compatible with neighboring development. We understand that the LUR standards can, under certain circumstances, be relaxed in the event 40 percent of the proposed residential units are deed restricted and qualify as Essential Housing Units; however, only 25 percent of Gatesco’s units are by definition Essential Housing and those are not deed restricted as contemplated by the LUR. 3. Review the goals of the Needs Assessment which recommends spreading Essential Housing Projects across the Valley, North, Mid and South. 4. Immediately create a committee, which includes staff and full and part time residents of the Valley who are experienced real estate and financing professionals, which committee can create a viable plan for the Valley to start the process of the development of Essential Housing under the guidelines established by the Needs Assessment. 5. Review and work with the Friends of Brush Creek with its proposal (which is currently under review by GVHA) to develop rental and ownership Essential Housing units on the Brush Creek Tract (60 rental units and 26 duplex deed-restricted units). No one wants our Valley to become a place similar to Summit County. Our residents do want our elected officials to develop a plan to satisfy our Essential Housing needs, but not at the horrendous detrimental costs imposed by the Gatesco Project. We ask that the adults come out from hiding, listen to our residents and proceed in a manner which will not destroy the Magic of our Valley forever. Thank you. Lawrence J. Brannian