ATM: Delay on demolishing buildings lifted |

ATM: Delay on demolishing buildings lifted

ALLEN BESTspecial to the daily

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Several months ago the Steamboat Springs City Council declared a moratorium on demolition of buildings older than 50 years. But the moratorium was seen by many as a taking of private property rights, and it became a pivotal issue in city elections.Now, with several new council members on board, the council has rescinded the moratorium. Although a public building official said he was unaware of anybody affected by the moratorium, a new council member, Cari Hermacinski, said the repeal was necessary to right a wrong. According to an account of the city council session reported by the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the misconceptions about the moratorium led to a negative public perception of historic preservation. If we recover that perceived punishment, people will be more open to historic preservation, she said.The Pilot & Today says protagonists in the case questioned whether Hermacinski had properly disclosed potential conflicts. A sister-in-law owns two houses that could be affected by the moratorium. But the question asked of council members, said Hermacinski, was whether they themselves owned any properties possibly affected. The Historic Structure Policy Review Committee has until March 31 to prepare recommendations for historic preservation.

BANFF, Alberta The elk population around Banff is growing once again, with 220 counted this year compared with 93 only three years ago. The worry is that the elk will, in turn, draw wolves and lions.This is not new. In the 1990s, so many elk were in Banff itself that they leisurely congregated in streets and occasionally attacked people – an average eight times a year, notes the Rocky Mountain Outlook.Such problems led to the relocation of elk about five years ago. The working theory now is that the elk are returning to the town’s perimeter in hopes of seeking safety from mountain lions and wolves. If so, it doesn’t always work. Earlier this year, a cougar killed an elk near a playground.Wildlife officials are doing their best to keep elk in the hinterlands. A six-foot-tall fence is being erected along the Trans-Canada Highway in an effort to keep the elk north of the town, where they are more likely to be killed by the predators.

VAIL You need go back to only 1998 to find a winter that began more slowly than this in Colorado. Thanksgiving that year offered prime conditions for climbing 14,000-foot peaks. Snow remained scarce until well into December.For people who sell real estate, the lack of snow was a silver lining. In Vail, for example, one real estate agent said he was the busiest I’ve ever been. People, explained the agent, who wanted to remain anonymous because he feared it would sound like bragging, who can’t go skiing then have time to shop for real estate.There have been plenty of snowless Novembers in the past. Vail had soup lines for unemployed workers until almost Christmas during the great drought of 1976-77. The winter of 1980-81 was not only snowless, but also warm. The Denver Post had photos of lift operators at Steamboat in lawn chairs and Hawaiian shirts. The Breckenridge Journal jokingly ran a photo of somebody skiing on talus with no hint of snow.But unlike in the past, there may be a new element of jitteriness this year. In drought winters past in the Rockies, global warming was not necessarily embraced. Now, there’s a tendency to ascribe every anomaly to global warming, despite the warning of scientists against ascribing one weather event to the effects of increased greenhouse gases.

WHISTLER, B.C. The death knell of the big employee recruiting fairs has been rung in Whistler. Last year, 1,700 showed up for a job fair sponsored by Intrawest, the operator of the Whistler and Blackcomb ski areas. Significantly fewer, 1,200 people, showed up this year. Another job fair reported attendance nearly half of last year.No longer are there enough young folks out there on the planet willing to take the risk to come to Whistler to find a job and then hope to get housing, said Kirby Brown, director of human resources at the ski area.In the Vail and Beaver Creek area, a similar tightening of the labor pool market was reported by the Vail Daily, although the ski area operator, Vail Resorts, seems to have secured its necessary employees.

ASPEN There’s plenty more talk about a new resort called Aspen – the one in Utah, south of Park City. The developer, a veteran of 30 years of real-estate development in Arizona, says it’s an honest name, given that the property near Heber City is thick with aspen trees.But the proposal by the developer, Dean Sellers, and 34 other landowners to incorporate the town called Aspen has been rejected by Wasatch County. He tells the Park Record there may be a lawsuit.Meanwhile, other residents of the affected area are trying to annex into another town, called Daniel, to make sure their land cannot be condemned should Sellers ultimately prevail with his incorporation plans.One of those aggrieved property owners, Kasey Bateman, called Sellers a greedy man who wants to make a billion dollars and ride off on his white horse while using us as stepping stones.In Colorado, editorial writers for The Aspen Times had a feast with the initial news announcement of a duplicate Aspen. The next time you see a fake Rolex dealer, think of the developer of Aspen, Utah, the newspaper advised. But, added the editorial, there would be problems:First off, what will the paparazzi do when they learn they booked a trip to Aspen, Utah? Unless he’s embroiled in a scandal, photos of Donny Osmond sipping a decaf latt at the corner coffee shop won’t pay the bills for Us and People magazines.Concluded the newspaper: If there were Darwin awards for bad business ideas, this would be a top candidate. It may make sense to name a cologne or a car or even a bottled water after Aspen. But why name a ski town after a ski town?Of course, there are already plenty of Aspens — 444, according to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which keeps track of every named meadow, wash, stream, and reservoir in the nation. As for populated Aspens, there are only two, however, with the lesser-known Aspen being in the interior of Virginia, too small even to warrant its own website.

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