We were very disappointed in a recent letter to the editor entitled “VIR Misrepresentations” signed by Bill Bennett and six other individuals (Bennett Group). We feel that the vitriol in this letter that was directed toward certain supporters of the proposed changes to the Visual Impact Regulations (Section 9) was not justified. We would therefore like to address some of the key points in this letter.
First, concerning the online petition in support of the proposed changes, we know that the people who started this petition are good citizens who do not deserve to have their integrity questioned, as it was in the Bennett Group’s letter. We signed the petition, but only after we were encouraged more than once to go to the county website to check out the proposed changes to Section 9. We were not unwittingly duped into signing this petition by any misrepresentation from the people who sent it to us!
Second, we did not like the Bennett Group’s attempt to belittle a speaker at the public hearing with what appeared to be a pointless discussion in their letter of the patented versus “unpatented” status and the size of each of the 1,000 mining claims researched by the speaker. This tactic appeared to be a feeble effort to detract from the fact that there are a very large number of mining claims where residential structures could be built in the future.
Third, the Bennett Group’s attempt to discredit another speaker, a retired California attorney, for his opinion that non-conforming structures need not be disclosed, only served to bring up a very interesting question: Why did certain realtors, who ignored this disclosure for so many years, suddenly decide to embrace it in recent months?
And finally in an attempt to discredit even another speaker, a retired New York land use attorney, the Bennett Group in their letter appeared to not understand that the speaker was discussing Section 4 of the Land Use Code and not Section 9. Obviously Section 4 (the section which governs non-conforming structures) should be addressed for revision, whether the proposed changes to the Visual Impact Regulations (Section 9) are adopted or not.
We are conservative on most issues, and we believe that there are too many regulations in this country. We can understand a knee jerk reaction to more regulations, especially with the large number of dubious regulations that continue to come from the current administration in Washington DC. However, we feel that it is a tribute to the strong Land Use Code with Visual Impact Regulations that most of Ouray County still has the same rural charm and pristine beauty that we found when we moved here 20 years ago. We believe that the majority of Ouray County residents support the goal of preserving these unique characteristics of Ouray County for future generations. We are saddened that the Bennett Group did not present any positive solutions to help achieve this goal.
– Steve and Claudia Wolff, Loghill Mesa