R. (Chuck) Thomas: Lowe’s and the end of Summit County as we know it

R. (Chuck) Thomas

The Silverthorne Town Council has delivered the message that they wish to destroy the Summit County resort community experience, community and wildlife co-existence, and the Blue River ecosystem. The inept decision to allow Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse to be developed on land at the intersections of Buffalo Mountain Dr., Adams Ave. and Wildernest Rd. will irreversibly ruin Summit County. Lowe’s, a multi-national corporate state, is only concerned with taking money from the Summit County economy and dispersing the money to Lowe’s greedy international investors and board members. The town council vote did not rationally address the present and future issues involved with this building site proposal and the negative ramifications that the approved vote will create.

The $1.9 million Lowe’s will spend to “improve” the infrastructure is really a loan to Silverthorne – an influential tactic to gain quick government approval and control zoning laws. The citizens will be paying Lowe’s this money back over 10 years in lower sales tax revenue government rebates. Therefore, the citizens are really paying for the infrastructure improvements, not Lowe’s. Also, after these “improvements” are finished, the maintenance and reconstruction costs on the infrastructure will be the responsibility of the town forever more. Lowe’s is the primary benefactor in this irresponsible relationship, not the citizens of Silverthorne or Summit County.

Increased traffic demands with limited geographical space to expand the infrastructure will negatively impact everyone. The Wildernest Rd. bridge over the Blue River was refurbished and resurfaced in June 2010 without increasing traffic capacity. Presently, Stephen’s Way is beyond the capacity of normal traffic flow. A traffic light will worsen the capacity and flow capabilities. Adams Ave. and Third Ave. have limited traffic capacities and space for expansion. Rt. 9 cannot handle the additional traffic capacity requirements at Rainbow Drive/Wildernest Rd. on any given weekend.

The noise pollution, air pollution, light pollution, the importation of non-native plants and unnecessary chemical products, and the building design will all negatively affect the environment and the Blue River ecosystem. Wetland setbacks really means wetland destruction. The Blue River water supply system will be degraded. The sanitation system may need to be enlarged, at an exorbitant cost. Wildlife will disappear and water quality will suffer.

The demise of small businesses will further destroy the town economy. The workforce will have less knowledge, be less educated, and be more incompetent. The average wage will not be sufficient to live in Summit County. The workforce will have to travel long distances. More roads, more traffic, and more pollution are the obvious outcomes to this disastrous decision.

Obviously, the concerns stated above are way beyond the scope of the town council’s expertise. Otherwise, a further review, as recommended by Silverthorne Town Councilmember Dave Preaus, would have occurred. The members who voted in favor of the Lowe’s Building Center will go to their graves knowing they helped destroy Summit County. Bring on Home Depot! There’s a rumor Kmart and CVS are coming to Coyne Valley Rd. At least Rte. 9 has been widened over there. Then Summit County will be the same as any Denver suburb.

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