Summit County (Utah) confronts similar big box welcome question
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – In both Colorado and Utah, the same question has been asked again and then again: Can a mountain town feel like a mountain town if it has big box retailers?The latest place where this question is being posed is Utah’s Summit County. Like its counterpart in Colorado, it is riven by an interstate, in this case I-80, which draws many commuters going west to Salt Lake City as well as skiers coming east to Park City. But among the communities hard along I-80 is a place called Snyderville Basin.There, despite a community plan that pointedly allows maximum buildings of no more than 60,000 square feet, a developer has submitted plans that anticipate Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and other national franchises.The Park Record reports an icy response from the planning commission. “We’ve said mountain resort character over and over again,” said Mike Washington, a planning commissioner. He and other commissioners point to the detrimental impact they believe the big retailers would have on the smaller retailers.”Is there an outcry for a big box?” asked Claudia McMullin, another commissioner. “I see no reason on earth to revisit this right now.”But the rejection is not complete. The argument is made – and heard – that consumers like these stores. If not there, then will they be accommodated down the road, at another jurisdiction – with the sales tax dollars going to that other city?Steamboat continues to debate its unusualnessSTEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Steamboat Springs does not ban national franchises, although it does impose special reviews on stores of more than 12,000 square feet. A project that is anchored by a Walgreens store has emerged from that process, but not without some local misgivings.”We are a community built on tourism,” writes Timothy Maxwell in a letter published in The Steamboat Pilot. “People come here for a unique experience and glimpse of a unique lifestyle, Western. In my opinion, these businesses such as Walgreens fall into one category: Generic. Nobody travels across the country to visit a place that is down the street in their hometown.”Despite sticker shock Whistler stays courseWHISTLER, B.C. – Whistler for several years has been planning a library that was to be a testament to environmental sustainability. But, like everywhere, construction costs have been spiraling up, some 17 percent. Either cough up more money or trim the extras like low-flush toilets, councilors were told.The councilors chose to stay the course, bringing up the total to $9.7 million (US $8.4 million). Included are such things as a skylight, separate air handling units so that the multi-purpose room can be heated without heating the entire library, and various other accouterments that will allow the building to be certified under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. Councilors were persuaded that, if costly in the short run, the building’s improved efficiencies will pay dividends in the long run, reports Pique newsmagazine.One step ahead of law, bar owners ban smokeCANMORE, Alberta – Last year Banff imposed a restrictive non-smoking law, and the down-valley town of Canmore almost echoed it. The council split 3-3, with the dissidents wanting a smoking ban but thinking that requiring smokers to be about 18 feet away from the doors of bars and other establishments was just too much.Now, bar owners in Canmore are banning smoking on their terms. It’s not 100 percent, and there seems to be no mandate to force pub patrons out in the street to have a drag. But the bar-keeps hope it will cause the government to butt out of their business.One server in a bar, Rebecca Klisko, said she was delighted by the decision of her employer, Rose and Crown, to go non-smoking. “I think it’s about time, with Canmore being such an outdoorsy town,” she said. Molybdenum mining in the works at RevelstokeREVELSTOKE, B.C. – Just as the skyrocketing price of molybdenum is provoking fresh looks at ore deposits in Colorado, near Copper Mountain-Leadville and also at Crested Butte, it’s causing examination of an ore deposit near Revelstoke.Prices several years ago had dropped to only $2, but last year roared to $40, although lately settling down to about $24 a pound. Vancouver-based Roca Mines Inc. is purchasing a mill and concentrator in Washington state, and plans to move it to the ore deposit. Sources tell the Revelstoke Times Review that the mine won’t be a major producer, but the ore is high grade. It is likely to end up in China and India.Highest lodge in the Rockies at 12,200 feet?TELLURIDE – Where is the highest lodge in the Rocky Mountains? A likely contender is a house built at an elevation of 12,200 feet near the Telluride ski area. It was built by a real estate agent, David Eckley, who not incidentally happens to be a high-altitude runner.”I thought it would be cool to live at altitude, because I was running in high-altitude races,” Eckley explained to The Telluride Watch, which puts out a real-estate magazine called Shelter. At the time he was competing with the national Fila Sky Runners team, traveling around the world to compete in mountain races.As you might expect, the house has serious views, as real estate ads are wont to say. Out the front door is a chasm of nearly 3,000 feet, with 14,000-foot peaks beyond and, in the distance, the red rock country of Utah.Eckley sold the house to the operator of the Telluride ski area, and today it is available for overnight rental. In addition to Buddhist, Hindu and other artifacts from around the world, it has a pool table and oxygen tanks.
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