Re: Positive intent
Thanks to Trustee Bohmfalk for his insightful opinion published on March 25. Good advice in these times of growth. When I was appointed as second alternate to the P&Z so long ago, I attended “New Commissioner Training” conducted by the Division of Local Affairs (DOLA). Most of the training was legal and regulatory issues that are boring but important. On the fun side, we heard from a long-time planner from Crested Butte with lessons learned: growth is inevitable – if you’re not growing, you’re dying; there are only two ways to deal with growth – density or sprawl; and citizens hate two things – density and sprawl.
When the town adopted the current Comprehensive Plan in 2013, the town consciously and deliberately decided for density. Some critics look at the new building on the roundabout, or the proposed building that will replace the Sopris Shopping Center, and suggest that these buildings are not consistent with the Town’s values. The fact is, these buildings are precisely what the Comp Plan and Development Code prescribe. The Comp Plan is the guiding document that is created based on community input, and the community input for the current Comp Plan was extensive over several months with steering committees and citizen focus groups. The Unified Development Code (UDC or Zoning Code) is developed to codify the Comp Plan and carries the weight of law, the same as speed limits and stop signs. Some see the UDC as restrictive, indicating uses that are prohibited. This is true, but it’s more appropriate to view the UDC as prescriptive, indicating uses that are allowed. The value of a property is determined by the allowable uses. Planners call this “Use-by-Right.” If the use is allowed and the building conforms with zoning and building codes and design guidelines, the town has no grounds to deny the application. Most land use applications are decided by town staff. Only the complicated applications are considered by the P&Z, and only the really complicated applications are referred to the Trustees. This entire escalation process is well defined by the UDC, and transparent to all applicants.
Bottom line, if you want a say in how a specific property is developed, you need to buy it. Ben’s admonition is prescient. Feel free to criticize decisions, but please respect those who made the decision. I would take the admonition one step further: Get involved. Admittedly, it’s hard work. You have to go to meetings twice a month and you actually have to prepare for the meeting. Some would find P&Z unfulfilling, as we are not an advocacy commission; our fealty is to the code. But Carbondale has several advocacy boards. Apply next time there is an opening. Or better yet, get elected. But, please, feel free to disagree with the decision. But keep in mind that those making the decision are doing their best and following the law.

Michael Durant

No to Ascendigo Ranch
As a resident of Missouri Heights, I would like to share key points why many of us are opposed to Ascendigo’s development. Not a single person here is against autism services, or special camps for children. The problem is this is the WRONG LOCATION. Period.
Our water supply is severely limited already. Ascendigo plans for a recreational lake and needs water for up to 150 people daily. This is unsustainable.
Traffic will increase by up to 450 cars/service vehicles a day on El Jebel Road, Fender Lane and Catherine’s Store Road.
Negative impact to wildlife, increased fire danger by impact use, and construction noise.
Should there be a wildfire, the evacuation would be a nightmare from their one-way-in dirt road. There is NO second exit road access.
Ascendigo would not be contributing to the county taxes that support roads/ambulance/fire services.
This project would create a permanent change in the character of this quiet, rural neighborhood.
There would be little oversight to expansions and their application lacks enforceable, transparent guidelines for future development.
Ascendigo’s development does NOT fit the established zoning rules and Garfield County Comprehensive Plan.
In summary, everyone agrees that Ascendigo’s mission is worthwhile and their clients deserve a special facility. This is simply the wrong location for it. We believe that finding a location on the valley floor with better access to water and all services, one protected from wind, and with better egress is more appropriate as well as safer for everyone involved.

Thank you,
Michael P. Ballard
Missouri Heights

Sign guy speaks again
I and – hopefully soon – We hold these truths to be self-evident that all nature is created equal, that all of nature has rights. Among these rights are: clean water, clean air, and clean soil. The lobby system, along with campaign financing, has money-making federal policies. That is not Democracy. A place to make a stand is in your community. Sitting in various streets of Carbondale, I see people throwing their garbage on the ground, cars over-idling, full dump trucks with their loads uncovered and the wind dumping dirt out of the trucks. I see the same thing with the dumpster trucks, loads uncovered, wind blowing garbage onto the streets. I see outdoor heating which should be a crime. What good are unenforced town ordinances? The Town Trustees’ material mindset is not what is needed in these times. How is it that a white man can legally spit at another person, but a Black man is knocked down and arrested for pointing at someone? I ask that the Town Trustees resign, and that spiritual-minded folk please come forward and allow us to elect you. We, the people, need to collectively move out of these polluted times and get onto a mindful path the children deserve. Life is a gift. How we live our life is our gift in return.
Thank you for your time,

Social aka Stephen Horn

Bad reputation
A murder of crows
Conspiracy of ravens
Dark words for dark birds

JM Jesse
Glenwood Springs

Haiku #3
Why name everything?
Let all things be As They Are
“Just this” names all things.