Brush Creek and the smell test


It seems to me that the chief problem with the Brush Creek proposal is that it does not pass “the smell test.” In Texas, suburbia seems to begin with a developer buying a piece of farm or ranch land some distance from an urban center, one reason why the price may be so cheap. The developer then subdivides the land into lots and sells them. His company then builds houses for the owners that are minor variations of some basic plan, making construction rapid and relatively cheap. Unless very well-negotiated, the surrounding land-owners foot much of the bill for providing infrastructure. The developer then moves out farther from the urban center, and the story repeats ad nauseam. Welcome to urban sprawl! Urban sprawl is completely dependent on cheap land. The details of the Brush Creek proposal vary from the above, but fundamentally it is the same story. If this proposal goes through, Crested Butte is going to get a new suburb, and suburbs have tended to destroy their urban centers. The problem of employee housing in Crested Butte has been beaten to death by lips and blasted with hot air. Crested Butte may now pay the price for not coming up with a pro-active plan for high-density, close-in housing to address a long-term community problem. I realize that nothing is ever going to satisfy everyone in Crested Butte, but inaction by the Crested Butte Town Council is a major factor. To me, the Town Council in ways seems to be a NATO organization— No Action, Talk Only. But “the smell” of the Brush Creek proposal is that it is a sweetheart deal for the Texas developers and for the Gunnison County government. It’s the smell of money, but the county has resisted being open (“extreme transparency”) to show us the money. Some people are going to make a lot of money off this deal, and I’m sure they won’t all be Texans… The county government’s solution for employee housing seems to be a cheap-housing, future-slum in Crested Butte’s front yard. Once again, it seems like that what’s good for the county seat is good for Crested Butte. The Brush Creek proposal still has a lot of momentum, but it might yet be stymied. If not, breathe deeply and enjoy the smell!

Lash Hansborough, Meridian Lake