Author: WPT Opinion

Save The View

Dear Editor, The past two afternoons, my friends and I had the pleasure to enjoy a late lunch at the Winter Park Pub. They have an outstanding patio that highlights the beautiful Continental Divide. This view highlighted by James Peak, Mount Bancroft, Parry Peak, Mount Eva and Flora is one of our biggest assets as a tourist town. Sitting at the the patio at the Pub, I was rather appalled at the intrusion the new, huge, shed roof building has on this view. I wonder if the building department considered this factor in their code review? My point is that we really need to preserve our small town, pro-environmental position in our quest to develop. Lest we lose our heart. – Terry Ready Fraser...

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Fraser ‘LEDs’ The Way

Dear Editor, Kudos to Mayor Philip Vandernail and the town of Fraser! Thanks for deciding to save your taxpayers many dollars by installing solar panels at your sewage treatment plant and changing your street lights to LEDs. Hopefully the county and other towns in Grand County will follow suit and find similar ways to save their taxpayers money. Not only is the town of Fraser saving money but they are supporting the renewable energy industry. Innovative jobs in the renewable energy sector are what will keep our young people employed in the future. – Martha Hut and Jon Rosen...

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Three Lakes Board Woes

To The Editor: They did it. The Three Lakes board rushed through a sewer extension, destroying 4 perfectly healthy septic systems, and charging 4 homeowners between $30,000 and $65,000 to connect. If you have a septic system, or have a lot you want to sell or buy, you should be concerned. You’re next. Three Lakes Board Chairman, Bill Heffron, who has recently resigned, and is apparently leaving the County, has denied any variances for a septic system on all new construction. This means that you could be miles away from the existing sewer, and will be forced to extend the line at your expense. What does this do for property values? An $80,000 lot can quickly become unsaleable when a potential buyer finds out that they will have to add tens of thousands of dollars, or in excess of hundreds of thousands for a sewer extension. And buyer of a house with an existing septic system will find out that they have to spend much the same to condemn their working septic system and be forced to connect. Because of this latest decision, we hve already lost a pillar of our community, Gayle Langley, who was forced to leave her home and the County because of the financial burden placed upon her. They have forced another of my neighbors to connect to the sewer after just over a year...

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Look How Far We’ve Come Together

Looking back on the threats to the Fraser and  Colorado Rivers  before our local chapter of Trout Unlimited was formed can be disheartening. Anyone following the story of these rivers knows that over half of their flows are  being diverted to the other side of the Continental Divide with no legal obligation through water law to address the negative impacts. With so much water missing from the natural streamflow regime, our rivers have lost the force that allows them to flush sediment and the shallower streams were reaching temperatures that can kill trout. On top of these threats came the threat of increased diversions with practically no mitigation offered to address the decline in these rivers. In 2011 the Colorado Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to approve the increased diversions with only cursory mitigation. This became the official state position leaving our rivers in a very compromised position. The Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited was chartered in 2003. Their mission statement was to conserve, protect and restore the rivers in Grand County. In 2006 National Trout Unlimited sent an attorney named Mely Whitting to work with Grand County to get the mitigation both of these rivers needed to be healthy. National Trout Unlimited has spent over $1 million in Grand County since she arrived. The Headwaters Chapter has spent around $100K since they chartered. Grand County government has...

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Rental Listings Should Include License Number

To the Editor: I read with interest the excellent article by Marissa Lorenz on vacation or short term rentals. At one time, we had short term rentals in Grand County. I knew of no owner who was collecting sales or lodging taxes. Only the onsite rental company did that. The reality is that there is often no ownership data attached to Airbnb or VRBO rental websites. We use both for a vacation rental we have on the island of Kauai. Unlike Grand County, the ability to remain anonymous on the rental listing is not allowed in Hawaii. We are required to prominently display our General Excise Tax (GET) license number and our Temporary Accommodations (TA) license number. If you don’t do this, you will get an ultimatum letter from the state, which is the tax collection authority. Absent compliance, VRBO or Airbnb will be directed by the state to have the website removed until tax compliance is achieved. When you look at most VRBO and Airbnb listings, you will notice one thing: Rarely is the name of the owner listed, so unless the state or county enforces a requirement to include the appropriate Short Term Rental License number, enforcement is difficult and you have no idea who the homeowner is. One other thing you may notice is that rarely does the listing include the unit number (this is done...

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