TDR decision was a foregone conclusion

I believe the recent commissioner hearing on Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) was fraudulent in intention and therefore a waste of taxpayer time and money.

I believe at least two commissioners had made up their minds on TDRs and held a public hearing, not to honestly reflect on related public input, but to go through the requisite motions before exercising their planned intention to shoot TDRs down. I’m angry I wasted my time and energy participating in a hearing that seems a foregone conclusion.

In my mind, at least two of our commissioners are one trick ponies who extol property rights above all. As I recall, the three commissioners repeatedly said in the past that the Dolores River Plan is flawed because it restricts private property rights and three times sent it back to the Planning Committee for reconsideration. Did they ever understand that in two ways it actually expands private property rights and enables sellers of TDRs to make much money? I’m skeptical that Commissioner Suckla repeatedly reframed his thinking, as he claimed during the hearing. Was he seeking to placate the audience which overwhelmingly spoke in favor of retaining the plan as written?

Commissioner Ertel voted no because he wanted more time to consider the matter. I hope I’m right in taking him at his word and not ingenuously assuming a politically convenient stance for the moment.

The essence of the plan and its critical component, the TDR, was to limit density in the Dolores River Valley, while allowing sensible growth, and thereby protect the residents of both the valley and all county consumers of Dolores River water. In striking down TDRs, the operative regulation becomes the Land Use Code which allows two houses, rather than one, per 10-acre parcel and allows the possibility of upwards of 700 more houses to be built in the valley. Perhaps the most critical question now is whether the commissioners will approve variances and exceptions to the Land Use Code to allow one or more major – and therefore disastrous – developments in the Dolores River Valley.

Ned Harper