There are a multitude of important concerns facing The San Miguel County Commissioners. In this short commentary, I will briefly explain my position on a few of them.
Historically, the long term negative impacts to the environment, the local economy and the fabric of the community far outweigh the short term boost created by uranium mining and milling. Located in Montrose County, the proposed Piñon Ridge uranium mill will generate no tax revenue for San Miguel County. The development of this mill and its surrounding operations will rob water, our most precious resource, from ranching and tourist activities. Further, transportation of uranium ore and radioactive yellowcake through our county poses safety and environmental risks and wind driven particles could threaten the health of downwind San Miguel County residents. Our County has so little to gain and so much to lose. If elected to serve as your Commissioner, I will work to proactively pursue the mitigation of the many negative impacts of the Mill.
San Miguel Valley Corporation has filed for a PUD (Planned Unit Development) to build 35 homes on the property on the north side of highway 145 just west of Telluride. The presentation of the gateway to Telluride is a paramount concern to our tourist driven economy. The required affordable housing site is in a geological hazard zone and consequently may be cost prohibitive for the County to build on. In my estimation, traffic impacts have not been adequately addressed and the mass and scale of the homes does not seem consistent with the character of Telluride.
At recent meetings, the Commissioners have considered prohibiting short term rentals of private homes. I believe that this is an unnecessary intrusion. Regulation of short term home rental should be administered by Home Owner Associations which are more in touch with the particular needs of their members.
The Telluride School District is asking voters for a slight mill levy increase. This is a smart investment. It will be offset by a mill levy decrease two and one half times as large. Education is the key to a sustainable future. Continuing the excellence in our schools will encourage community-minded families to join our community and with outstanding schools in view, the desire of conscientious parents to acquire the best education for their children will result in appreciation of values for local real estate. On this referendum, the vote of a Commissioner weighs no heavier than any voter. I encourage everyone to look to the future and vote YES on measure 3A.