Perspective, love and light

There is a lot going on these days. Some of it is good, some of it questionable. What happened to offseason?! It is what it is…but Lord knows it makes for “interesting times” up here in the high mountains. Given that, it is perhaps good practice to view it all through a perspective of light and love. 

Standing in line to get a package at the post office? Maybe it’s a chance to slow down and see some friends doing the same thing? 

Every government planner anywhere near here is working on all sorts of master plans. It will be interesting to see the direction that comes from them all and what intersections their roadmaps agree on.

Short-term rentals and their impact on individuals and the broader community are being discussed at all ends of the valley but particularly in Crested Butte. It is a more complex issue than people want to admit but at its simplest level, it seems if they are going to be allowed, you reward the good ones and penalize the bad ones. So, the radical idea to allow vacation rental licenses for five years and then mandating a two-year cooling off period doesn’t make practical sense.

It is not easy for workers to find a place to live that is affordable and close to where they work. There is no entitlement to have such a place, but that housing scarcity chips away at deep community. Keeping a diversity of people of all income levels in CB for example, makes for a better town. 

For those that worked or lucked into a North Valley home over the last several years or decades, it is getting more expensive to live in it. Being financially solid on paper sounds good but you can’t eat equity soup.

Bond issues are being proposed this November for the school district and local recreationists just as property valuations are going up. Expect noticeable increases in your property taxes no matter the outcome. The newbies with deep pockets can afford it all but the mid-timers will be stretched. Not to say the proposals aren’t good and needed, but any bond issue will be under scrutiny and the arguments to raise taxes better be good. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The fire district looks like it has found a new place for its new fire hall – right next to the old place intended for its new fire hall. We’ll see how the district and town of CB work together for the logical step to partner on water and sewer stuff.

Mt. Crested Butte is not only looking at the Village at Mt. Crested Butte (boring rebrand from North Village BTW) but a revised and major Prospect subdivision proposal is stirring. That is no shortage of potential development on the north edge of the town.

Empty businesses bring uncertainty to Elk Avenue and property there is held by fewer and fewer people. We can assume those people will act relatively soon to get those places hopping. But who really knows?

There are speeders in CB South.

Going electric is the new CB way.

The CB marshals are driving Teslas.

It’s time to lock in your Epic ski passes. Winter is closer than you think.

How ‘bout that new Broncos coaching staff? Nothing but football confidence there.

Oh, there’s an election happening for the North Valley representative to the county commissioner board. 

The demographics of our summer tourists are changing as people who normally drive here are getting priced out of the market while more affluent visitors are lining up almost on waiting lists for the boutique flights that sound lovely and easy from Dallas (and soon Austin?).

The county is looking at a stop order on what appears to be a major road being put in on land just south of Crested Butte South. Construction of roads and agricultural structures are exempt from access and building permits in Gunnison County when it comes to agricultural operations, but it’s been explained to me that excavation of more than 350 yards of construction materials for the roads is not exempt and requires a land use change permit. The county community development department tells us they are working on issuing a stop work order/notice of violation for that issue on that property that is owned by the Hunter Family Real Estate Ltd. We’ll dig into that more in the next few weeks.

Toxic algae is growing in Blue Mesa. Meanwhile the reservoir remains pretty darn low.

Crested Butte is spending $570K for a 31-year-old mobile home that will ultimately be used for workforce housing. The RTA meanwhile lucked into paying just $30K more than that for a really nice condominium in town owned by a longtime local with heartfelt community intent. Maybe there are more people out there with good community intent?

It will be years before new, major workforce housing numbers pop up. The Valley Housing Fund however is getting three new manufactured homes up and running before the ski season and that will provide some local workers with a needed roof over their heads. 

While the town balance sheets are flush, the CB waterworks systems are being stretched to the limit and could drain some of the extra money in the CB bank accounts. But hey, working water and sewer are kind of a top priority for a real town. I smiled that the Public Works department performed the town Community Compass exercise of imposing the “authentic, accountable and connected values” to the situation. The feel-good value assessment isn’t probably necessary in every situation and a cold, hard look at how to literally dispose of the crap and keep drinking water flowing to homes and businesses is probably all that’s needed. At least it was admitted that the CB value of “being bold” wasn’t needed to keep meeting regulations and paying for needed capital projects. Keeping baseline municipal services running doesn’t seem to really require a Compass analysis. But it did make me smile, so thank you.

I heard someone tried to start the Vinotok Grump fire late Monday night. That’s not how the community celebration works. The firebug should take a walk along Peanut Road and visit the altars so he or she can perhaps evaluate their soul and intentions.

On top of it all, this past week we lost another longtime member of the village to soon who was struggling with long haul COVID. It is again sad and leaves a hole in our collective whether you knew her well or not. Her crossing puts all the things that are happening, good and bad, in a different perspective. Before getting all amped about STRs and master plans, post office lines and tax hikes, take the breath. Slow down. Look in on your neighbor. Connect first with people and then with issues. 

Spread love. 

Bring light. 

It is okay to raise questions, be cynical (me) and push for your interests and beliefs. But put people first and keep these “interesting times” in perspective.

—Mark Reaman

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