Wednesday letters: Ascendigo opponents, broadband service, comissioners’ voting, vaccine, overdevelopment, and good samaritans

Ascendigo opponents presented strong, truthful case

I participated in the recent three-day hearing on the Ascendigo project proposed for Missouri Heights. Over 620 residents signed a petition to stop this nonconforming commercial enterprise from being built in the middle of our rural residential zoned area. We tried to express our well-founded concerns about the project. We have been called ugly names, have spent hundreds of hours reviewing documents trying to ascertain the truth, and have had to raise thousands of dollars to establish the facts around the serious threats it poses to our environment. 

We presented a strong, truthful case to deny the application on both the facts and the applicable law to the Board of County Commissioners. Our case included testimony of experts with no previous relationship to Ascendigo or their board members and detailed the real-world consequences we will suffer — mining of our already stressed aquifer, increased exposure to wildfire, tripling of the traffic on our dirt roads, hundreds of people on site every day of the year and more.

It was nearly impossible to sit through the conclusion of the hearing yesterday afternoon and hear an Ascendigo-paid water engineer (not a geologist) say that right now, there is more water in the aquifer that serves our area than there was 20 years ago, and that regionally, there has been no decline in aquifer levels. She failed to mention that the regional study did not include wells in this area, which have been problematic. 

This consultant assured the BOCC that Ascendigo would have enough water for their operations. She didn’t mention what would happen to the rest of us lower on the line of the same water source. And we still believe they didn’t include the water use for laundry in their estimates, a significant daily use for the proposed facility.

Ascendigo has very wealthy supporters. They will be able to continue their programs without difficulty and will find a better location. I cannot say the same for Missouri Heights or those of us calling it home if the project is approved.

Cheryl Niro

Missouri Heights, Carbondale

Thanks to city Glenwood for new broadband service

Kudos to the city of Glenwood Springs and our new broadband service. We are up and running at great speed and effectiveness and fair pricing. The install teams and communication were great.

One courteous team showed up to connect our house to the system. Another courteous and knowledgeable team did the in-house connection. They were on time and went above and beyond in setting us up correctly, carefully running wire and helping to relocate our router for better efficiency and then testing everything. We highly recommend the service if and when it is available to you. 

Thank you Glenwood Springs — small town character with first rate broadband. 

Sumner Schachter and Michele Diamond

Glenwood Springs

Commissioners, not PI editorial, got Ascendigo right

In a Post Independent editorial Monday, the editorial board sent this message to Garfield County commissioners: “A few months ago, we encouraged Garfield County commissioners to approve the proposed Ascendigo camp in Missouri Heights.” This is a bold statement considering testimony, expert reports and public comment were yet to be presented, reviewed and discussed. It implies a foregone conclusion by the Post Independent, based on what?

In the editorial, PI cites $25,000 raised by KMOHR homeowners, but fails to mention Ascendigo’s $4 million budget, nor the $258,000 annual salary paid to CFO Peter Bell.

As a KMOHR supporter, I did not employ a “kitchen sink” nor “everything under the sun” strategy regarding my opposition to this land use application. Ascendigo proposed a 2-acre pond that would require over 6 million gallons of water to fill; their pastureland could not be irrigated with nonexistent ditch water. These are realities not to be made trivial by the Post Independent editorial board.

There is no “personal defeat” for Missouri Heights homeowners. Ascendigo Inc. provides a unique camp experience for anyone who can afford $5,000 per week to send their child or young adult to the Roaring Fork Valley to enjoy a week of horseback riding, river rafting, rock climbing and personal enrichment.

So, Post Independent editorial board, maybe your advice to KMOHR residents should instead be diverted to the Ascendigo Inc. board: “Don’t let (the commissioner’s denial of your application) discourage you from staying involved in community issues.”

Second, “Really try to be open to Ascendigo being good neighbors …” and find an appropriate location, away from homes, with abundant water supply, safe from fire danger, to establish your ranch camp.”

Garfield County commissioners listened to the applicant, received the evidence, heard testimony from staff, experts, constituents and the community. Denial of Ascendigo Inc.’s land use application by the commissioners was appropriate.

Debra Hanson

Missouri Heights

Thanks to Samson and Martin for voting against Ascendigo camp

On behalf of the Keep MO Heights Rural nonprofit organization and its supporters, we are extremely grateful to Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson and BOCC Chair John Martin for voting to deny the Ascendigo Property Holdings change in land use application, and we want to take this opportunity to thank them publicly.

The commissioners all took the time to listen and understand the complex issues that Missouri Heights residents were highly concerned with, and by voting to deny the application for a land use that would be incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood and environmentally inappropriate, the board protected the rights and best interests of Garfield County’s citizens and the citizens of neighboring Eagle County.

An overwhelming number of residents of Missouri Heights made their voices heard to protect the rural character of this very special place and its sense of community. We can now move beyond this divisive issue. We support and wish Ascendigo luck in finding a more suitable location for its very worthwhile initiative.

Karen Moculeski 

President, Keep MO Heights Rural

Missouri Heights

Disbelief on commissioners voting against Ascendigo camp

From 1,100 miles away, I watched with utter disbelief two county commissioners deny Ascendigo a permanent home. Rural Colorado was my home in the 1980s and ’90s. I raised children there. Two still call it home, along with five of my grandchildren. I remember a tolerant state, not what I witnessed over days of recent hearings. I know what it’s like to own a piece of paradise out there. It is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. 

What happens to people when they get their piece of the pie? Nothing like shutting the barn door behind you. If not there, where? I was struck when a commissioner said (right before dashing Ascendigo’s dreams) that it “wasn’t about the children.” Truer words were never spoken. It was never about the children for the opposition. Who knew chicken nuggets were so hated?

Terry Hall

Dekalb, Mississippi

The best answer we have is the vaccine

A new surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths is occurring on the Western Slope of Colorado. The majority of the cases are those not fully vaccinated. One consequence of the prolonged fight against COVID-19 is the toll it is taking on our dedicated health care workers. They have seen enough death and suffering over the past year and a half to last a lifetime. In fact, many are leaving their jobs due to extreme stress and fatigue.

Another result of the spike in COVID-19 admissions is that patients who are waiting for elective surgeries are having their procedures canceled. Also, when hospitals are at capacity due to COVID-19 patients, others needing care are being transferred to the Front Range. This means you and your family are at risk of not receiving the care you need close to home.

If you have concerns about the vaccine, talk with a physician or other health care professional. If you know a nurse, a respiratory therapist or lung specialist, ask them what it is like to be the one holding an iPad while a patient who is dying of COVID-19 says goodbye to loved ones, or what it’s like to place a patient struggling to breathe on a ventilator. 

These dedicated health care professionals desperately need our help to stem the tide of increased infections. Right now the best answer we have is the vaccine. 

Marti Stude 


Say no to the overdevelopment of Glenwood Springs 

There are over 500 of us on Facebook’s West Glenwood Pasture Development page united in our belief that the overdevelopment of Glenwood Springs is not only ruining our small town but threatening our ability to safely evacuate when it comes to a wildfire. 

Take for instance the development of a large portion of the property behind the West Glenwood Mall, where developers want to build 360 rental units. This would bring in almost 30 units per acre compared with the surrounding rural properties where the average is 4 to 5 per acre. It would be larger than Six Canyon, The Lofts and the Buffalo Valley Apartments combined. 

Planning & Zoning has already recommended denying this application in light of the safety of the larger Glenwood community; the inability of the infrastructure around this property to support such a development; an undersized and obsolete fire department in West Glenwood; the density of this huge development; and the impact on our small-town resources. We are hopeful that City Council will follow their lead.

Even if roads are improved, is it realistic to think they can handle the traffic from 600-900 tenants with upward of 1,000 vehicles parked either on the property or in the parking lot that West Glenwood will become?

As we saw last year with both the 111 Fire, which caused total gridlock in West Glenwood, and the Grizzly Creek Fire, life in our valley can be changed in the space of a few short hours and our lives and homes threatened. To add such a large number (or in fact any number) of residents to West Glenwood would be utterly catastrophic. 

In recent years, we have seen many rent-only developments in our small town — The Lofts, Six Canyons, Buffalo Valley Apartments, Bell Rippy Apartments — all built or being built and many more in the pipeline to be approved.

We invite you to join our Facebook page or attend the City Council Zoom meeting on July 29 and voice your opinion.

Together we can build a safer community

Glenwood Safe – Glenwood Strong

Randy and Annie Stephens

Glenwood Springs

Appreciation for good Samaritans who helped with bicycle accident

This is for all the people who stopped to help me after my bicycle accident on Donegan Road on June 12 around 10 a.m. Thank you so much for the empathy and compassion you showed me during a very painful and difficult situation. There were so many of you, and each and everyone of you played a vital role in getting me the help I needed. So from the bottom of not only my heart but also from my husband, thank you! People like you are what makes the world a better place.

Nancy Talpers

Glenwood Springs

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