Benjamin Young: Lowe’s needs more scrutiny |

Benjamin Young: Lowe’s needs more scrutiny

Benjamin Young

That the Silverthorne Town Council voted 5-1 on Wednesday to approve the preliminary plans for the Lowe’s big box is not surprising, but is derelict in their duty to citizens. Save for council member Long, council appears to have already reached their conclusions; that Lowe’s can do no wrong and that local citizen opposition to the North Carolina corporation is misguided. The council is pro-big business by offering tax incentives to Lowe’s but not to community-owned small businesses; by allowing for the application to have 14 major deficiencies and without questioning the accuracy of the Lowe’s claims.

Summit County already has it’s share of unsightly retaining walls. Lowe’s proposes to construct a nearly 60-foot-tall retaining wall, directly adjacent to Buffalo Mountain Road – a site that is the visual gateway to Summit County and also an active landslide area. Collapse of the retaining wall would pose serious safety and economic impact to the county. Indeed, the council not only accepted Lowe’s hired private geotechnical claim for the safety of the retaining wall and states that “the Town is neither reviewing nor making determinations about the accuracy of the geotechnical report.” The council seemingly dismissed the state of Colorado’s Geological Engineer’s own assessment that concluded the Lowe’s “development may cause renewed and/or accelerated landslide movement “and “cannot determine if the project proposed is feasible.”

That citizen commentary at the meeting ran 20-to-1 in opposition was also dismissed. Counsel member Lanuza lamented that this didn’t represent the community. Mayor Koop also missed the point, suggesting that opposition to Lowe’s was based on some desire to return to the “good old days.”

This debate isn’t about the good old days, it is about the future of our community – it deserves due diligence by our elected officials and respect for public commentary.

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