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Courting of voters under way

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A telephone survey and a new Web site are the first indicators that the election campaign over the fate of Red Feather Ridge has begun.

Community Voices for Responsible Growth is a grassroots organization formed to strike down Glenwood Springs City Council’s approval of Red Feather Ridge. The group recently launched a Web site – http://www.cvrg.net – and started a local ad campaign.

The Web site lists the group’s positions and issues, its mission statement, and CVRG steering committee members; tells viewers how to join the group; and solicits donations.



Meanwhile, developers of Red Feather Ridge have been conducting a phone survey of local residents. The survey, according to Red Feather Ridge developer Guy Harrell, is designed to gauge support for the project.

The special city election, set for June 24, was referred by City Council to ask voters if the city should annex and zone the 149-lot project subdivision and extend the city’s Urban Growth Boundary.



The survey “is being done by a very professional firm,” Harrell said.

Phone calling began last week and is ongoing, Harrell said, so no results were yet available Tuesday.

“It’s my understanding they started it Thursday night or Friday and it will take place over several days – whatever it takes to get a proper sample,” Harrell said.

CVRG spokesman Michael Larime said he’s heard from people who have been surveyed that “the hidden agenda in the survey was definitely to deliver a pro-developer message.”

Larime said another possible motive for conducting the survey is to find a “killer concession” that would get voters to approve the project.

“From reports, people say it’s slanted or biased,” said Larime, who hasn’t received a survey call himself. “It’s not a classic marketing survey. It’s a bunch of leading questions informing people about the land for the cemetery and low-cost housing.”

The survey is also reported to ask how citizens feel about Glenwood Springs Mayor Don Vanderhoof, District 61 Rep. Gregg Rippy, R-Glenwood Springs, and Habitat for Humanity.

Larime also said proponents of Red Feather Ridge are having “a schmooze and booze party” later this week to attract voters.

Harrell said Red Feather Ridge backers are planning to gather this week, but he said he is not sponsoring or organizing the event. He called the event “just some local people getting together.”

Larime compared the situation to David and Goliath.

“There is no doubt they’re going to outspend us, maybe 10 to one, maybe 100 to one,” Larime said.

Harrell said a group of Red Feather Ridge supporters will likely form in coming weeks to spread a message that the development will offer affordable housing, cemetery and park land and money for city road improvements. Although plans for a campaign are not yet solidified, Harrell said it would begin soon.

“After going through 20 months of this and coming to agreements,” he said, “do you just think we’re going to lay down and die? We have no choice, we’ve been painted into a corner.”

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

gmasse@postindependent.com


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