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There goes the neighborhood

Brief by Jim Stiles

Development – April 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

One contentious issue in Moab, Utah, is “Cloudrock” — a luxury development atop a mesa overlooking town. It has inspired these observations from Jim Stiles, publisher of the Canyon Country Zephyr there:

Since the Cloudrock development was first introduced to the citizens of Grand County, its promoters have been trying to convince us that the ultra-high-end luxury lodge/condo/home project will add needed revenues to our tax base….

As for the generosity and benevolence of potential Cloudrock taxpayers, human nature tells us that people want a return on their investment. Their tax liability will never go into some massive tax surplus fund, to be used exclusively for worthy projects like affordable housing and improved education. If Cloudrock residents pay millions of dollars into the Grand County tax base, they will expect and demand improved county services — service that will directly benefit them.

Just think about it.

They’ll demand that Spanish Valley Drive be improved and widened and repaved and curbed and guttered.

They’ll demand improved fire protection.

While the developer claims that crime will not be a problem up there (apparently rich people are more honest), you can be sure that ultimately there will be a demand for more law enforcement protection….

And Cloudrock’s residents will demand more than just improved services, they will want to change the way we live. And the first thing to go will be Moab’s “Beloved Junk,” so prominently featured in the last Zephyr. There will be a demand for tighter zoning, restrictions on property maintenance, limitations or bans on animals. The list will be unending.

Where will that leave us? The upside is that, if we want to move, we’ll probably get a damn good price for our homes. But if we’ve lived here for years, or decades, or for all our lives — and we want to stay — it will become increasingly difficult to afford it. And ultimately prohibitive.

So this community has some serious choices ahead. But the decisions we make must be based upon the Truth. And on Reality. And NOT on a sales pitch from a developer who wants to fulfill his lifetime dream at our expense.

From “Take it or Leave It” in the February-March 2001 edition of the Canyon Country Zephyr, “All the news that gives fits,” P.O. Box 327, Moab UT 84532, 435-259-7773, $15 a year (six issues).