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A fitting tribute Editor: What a beautiful day for an even more beautiful event. Today (Aug. 21) was a day to say farewell to Frank “Buff” Rutherford. The little stone church …
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A fitting tribute
What a beautiful day for an even more beautiful event. Today (Aug. 21) was a day to say farewell to Frank “Buff” Rutherford.
The little stone church by the creek was full, so the overflow crowd could hear the audio feed across the street in the 1874 School, which he attended as a boy. Seemed pretty high tech for little Georgetown.
It was a wonderful service as you would expect for someone so well respected. What I’ll remember the best was when the wagon, drawn by Buff’s old team, pulled to the front of the church, the pallbearers loaded his handmade casket, adorned with horseshoes, and pulled off toward our uptown. The family and friends fell in behind and paraded through the town while every bell from every tower in town rang out their salute.
I saw visitors and townsfolk alike standing respectfully along the route, some weeping at the display of respect, which they know is reserved for those who have had a great impact on a community and on the lives they’ve touched.
His may be some pretty large boots to fill, but I’m also pretty sure he influenced enough people who are willing to try.
Sometimes denying development
is the right decision
County government has the right to create and enforce zoning laws, to change them, and to permit exceptions to the rules. The exercise of a right to do something is not the same as doing what is right. The first is a legal right; the second is an ethical responsibility.
Recent development proposals for Floyd Hill and Eclipse Snow Park are both cases in which the developer, county staff and plan commission appeared to ignore the impact of these proposals upon the character and quality of life in the adjacent rural mountain residential communities. That should be their first consideration.
Among the purposes listed in the Clear Creek County Zoning Regulations are: Preserving and promoting quality of life, protecting and promoting the aesthetic character of neighborhoods, preserving and protecting open space.
Quality of life includes respect for the stability and integrity of existing desirable uses. A desirable residential community has stable zoning laws where adjoining uses are compatible with the established character of the area. Good government supports quality residential neighborhoods and separates them from commercial and recreational districts.
Ironically, there seems to be little understanding of rural mountain residential communities. These are not resort communities but homes for permanent residents. Rural mountain residential culture is built on privacy, peacefulness and open spaces. It eschews high-volume traffic and commercial activity in favor of the rhythms of nature. It is generally compatible with nearby passive recreational uses but not with commercial recreation. Low-density commercial uses may be acceptable in some places if they do not generate high-volume traffic or impact aesthetic and environmental values.
Rezoning for intensive commercial development in a meadow that is part of a rural residential community destroys a vital asset open space and changes community character.
The conversion of the only local residential access road into commercial recreational use impacts not only road safety, noise levels and air quality, but changes the character of the local community and its value to current and future residents. Situating a commercial snow park in the midst of a rural residential community destroys local aesthetic values and detracts from the primary purpose of the adjacent wilderness area. Such diversification in the development mix degrades or destroys the very attributes that attract rural mountain dwellers.
Opposition to these proposals came from many people in the residential areas surrounding them. Opponents are not antagonistic toward commercial development. They believe these proposals were ill-conceived from the standpoint of location.
The negative impact they would have on the local community meant they were not the “right thing to do.” The denial of increased levels of commercial development at Floyd Hill was the “right thing to do.” The majority vote of the Board of County Commissioners to deny development of Eclipse Snow Park at St. Mary’s was both legally and ethically the
“right thing to do.”These decisions were right for the local communities, for the long-term good of the county and for the taxpayers. They were right from the standpoint of economics, safety and quality of life. They were also right for the developers.
Government exists for the benefit of the people, not to work against their best interests. The right way to plan and administer zoning in our county is to give primary consideration to “doing the right thing.” Common sense tells us that impacts upon the existing community ñ the people should be the first consideration by planners and administrators. Government should neither encourage nor create situations where zoning grants legal rights that conflict with their ethical responsibility to “promote and preserve the quality of life” in established residential areas. Quality-of-life issues are more important than false dreams of economic reward. Maintaining good quality of life is the goal of stewardship.
“Right” planning protocols respect and protect the quality of life and integrity of rural mountain residential communities that contribute more to the county government than they demand from it. Keep it that way. Do the right thing.
Fall River Road
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