PI Editorial: Even in disagreement, recognize we’re neighbors
Once again, Missouri Heights is the epicenter of a land use disagreement.
This time, it’s between residents and the owners of Cedar Ridge Ranch, an agri-tourism operation that offers farm tours, glamping, horseback riding, horse training and more.
Neighbors of the operation have gone before Garfield County commissioners multiple times now with a litany of complaints ranging from dogs running at large to improper land use to even threats. One person went so far during a March 7 commission meeting as to claim the only neighbor worse than Cedar Ridge Ranch would be Russia.
Hyperbole like that usually isn’t worth addressing in detail — we would say, however, that the millions of Ukrainians facing bombs, death and displacement from their homes probably disagree.
What’s important for us in Garfield County, however, is that we don’t lean on outlandish hyperbole to try and get our way. It generally accomplishes nothing and further creates a chasm between the various sides of a disagreement.
Unfortunately, we seem to be getting more and more comfortable as a community to lead with outrage and anger first, and understanding and collaboration last.
For many, Glenwood Springs and the surrounding area feels in the midst of a growth spurt. While Glenwood Springs itself only grew by a few hundred people according to the 2020 census, anyone who’s had the displeasure of sitting in traffic on Interstate 70 or Colorado Highway 82 for 10-plus years know the area itself has grown considerably. Sometimes, it might feel like we’re trapped by it.
With such forces at play, it is no surprise to see a rise in conflicting visions and feelings for our future. We’ve seen that play out to varying degrees over the past few years, including proposals for apartments near the 27th Street RFTA station, now-defunct plans for Ascendigo to build a camp for autistic children in Missouri Heights, the upcoming vote on whether or not to annex property in West Glenwood for multi-family residences, land-use complaints around Cedar Ranch in Missouri Heights and more.
We can’t say that everything has or will work out as best as possible in these instances. But we can say that every instance at the very least has room for more understanding and respect for all of those involved. It’s just a colloquial observation and not based on data, but we’ve seen local policy issues become more rancorous and more bitter over the past 10 or so years — not just in our community but throughout many others in the nation.
What happens when disagreements boil over to distrust, fear and anger? One side wins and the other side loses, and that zero-sum outcome usually makes for a less cohesive vision. We don’t have to reach that far back in our journalistic careers or civic experience to remember when parties with very different visions for the future would still figure out how to work together and collaborate, yet all the same it feels like it could have been decades ago.
And that worries us for the future, because no matter one’s vision the reality is we already face very daunting challenges as a community. Approaching those in a manner of “I win, you lose” or “You win, I lose” will make it altogether too easy for outcomes to lack the community consensus necessary to withstand election cycle whims and the such.
We don’t know what the answer is, but we need to pull together and figure it out.
The Post Independent editorial board members are Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Mark Fishbein and Danielle Becker.
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