Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creative Comments License

Over the last couple of days I've noticed several stories in the Daily Sentinel that I thought merited some additional comments. On some of these stories, there is no capability to leave comments, while on others there is.

Instead of scratching my head and wondering why, I thought I would just comment here.
By the way, Denny, why is that? Never mind, here goes...

Gas group sponsors cattlemen's meeting in valley this week

Aside from the headline, which borders on something Jay Leno might have been interested in, I thought immediately about intense discussions to collect bovine flatulence, not to mention a lot of the hot air coming from the energy types inside Two Rivers this week.

Seriously, if ranchers and drillers are trying to work together then that's a good thing. Maybe these energy companies would like to use this example to work more amicably with the citizens of Battlement Mesa.

Opponents of B&B seek public hearings

In this story and previous reporting, those who have leveled complaints and/or retained counsel to voice them to the city have not been identified.

I'm wondering if this group of opponents includes Daily Sentinel retiree and historical columnist Kathy Jordan, who along with her husband owns the conspicuously well-maintained yellow house at the southeast corner of Seventh and Ouray. If so, then I believe that the paper has an obligation to disclose this to the readership if they choose to report on the controversy.

For me, there needs to be some practical trade-offs in the North Seventh Street Historic District if it is to remain an integrated and vital part of a changing Downtown Grand Junction.
Recognition of the fact that Seventh is a major north/south arterial through the city center would be a start. Providing for a long-overdue southbound left turn lane from Seventh onto Grand Avenue would be another. Recognizing that cobbled flagstone crosswalks don't necessarily lend themselves to use by disabled citizens is yet another.

With their opposition to some creative use of a very large space, the naysayers on "Historic" Seventh Street are basically trying to act like a government-sanctioned HOA. The final quote by their attorney was the last straw:
"Some neighbors view the bed-and-breakfast proposal as a lever “to justify a higher sale price,” Behrmann said."
Uh, if the owners of the proposed B&B meet the city's requirements to develop their business, then what business is it of yours how much they sell it for?

After helping in fundraising, Grand Junction couple makes personal donation

This story allowed for comments, and one particular comment drew my attention. It compared Ken Leis and Kathy Hall's philanthropy to that of Andrew Carnegie, "in more ways than one".

No one seemed to pick up on the meaning behind that comment. I think the writer may have intended to bring forth Carnegie's involvement in the bloody Homestead Strike of 1892, as well as his membership in the South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club, whose neglect of the dam that created the club's lake resulted in the 1889 Johnstown Flood.

I believe that this comment was intended to disparage Mr. Leis and Ms. Hall because of their involvement in local politics and the energy industry. Other comments were less subtle in their criticism. That's bad form; we should appreciate their generosity, and let God sort out the rest.

Have a great day.


Sharon Snyder said...

What a world we would have without preservation! No parks, no National Monument, wide open paved roads without vegitation so you could always make a left turn and all shinny grey metal panelled buildings!

Sorry that is not for me and hopefully not for most of you.

The 7th street issue is one of caring about the community and neighbors. 7th street is a National Historical pearl for Grand Junction and we all enjoy it. The fear of possibly loosing the RESIDENTIAL charm and character is a concern to me.

Look at the multi dwelling day care center that has gyms in the front yard. I am sure their initial plan was quite different than it looks today. It was grandfathered in when 7th street wrote its plan in 1984.

A PLAN that some current residents were given when they purchased their home. The same plan the CITY LOST. The plan dated 1984 clearly states that future use should be residental only.

We did not buy these homes as investment properties. We of course bought these homes expecting to get a reasonable return and we have. Two of these homes have sold without even going on the market. Most of the homes for sale in the last 5 years have sold quickly. If a house does not sell quickly changing the purpose of the house may not be the best answer.

The people living in these homes want what they think is best for everyone which involves a City Council hearing. The city council should make the decision for a land use change as The Plan states. We do not want the Planning dept. to make an executive decision. We are only asking for what we deserve.
Yes, an appeal is an option as Mr.
Shaver states but it would be expensive and lengthy. Why not just find out what City Council thinks now rather than later?

If we must have a B&B we do not think this particular home is the best one as stated by the owner. Changes will have to be made to 604 to comply with the cities existing codes. Grass will need to be removed and concrete installed to provide the required off street parking.
There is only one full bath for 3guest bedrooms.
The owner/operator would need to live in the basement and use the joint bath on the 2nd floor.
There is no private outside grass area for outdoor summer visiting except in the front of the house. This house is on a corner lot at 7th and Chipeta with all remaining grassed property visible. There would need to be a sign in the front yard.
This is not ideal in my opinion.

There are actually many B&B's in this valley. Several finding it difficult to survive. So do we need another?

If it is decided a B&B is best for 7th street my home already has the parking required, 3 full baths and a master bedroom on the 1st floor with a private full bath. A private fenced patio and flower garden in the back. Along with a large front porch and a concrete alligator to designate the address. No changes would be necessary. Maybe I should apply to the city so our cherished 7th street could end up looking like Grand Avenue?

So someone explain to me why we should not ask that the rules be followed and preservation be part of Grand Junction history?

Sharon Snyder
639 N. 7th. Street
corner of Gunnison and 7th

John Linko said...

Thanks for your comment. I apologize for the delay in moderating it, but I am working nights this week and was carefully examining the backs of my eyelids when you posted it.

My issues lie with what I consider a need to balance preservation and the effective use of the available space and traffic corridors, with a need to preserve private property rights.

I'm sorry that you feel your neighborhood is being encroached upon by forces that would cheapen what you consider the pristine quality of the neighborhood, and by association the value of the individual properties that collectively make up the historic district.

With all due respect, what one person feels is an ideal use for their property is not the concern of adjacent property owners. I choose to live Downtown because I appreciate the charm of older houses, but also the convenience to services and to my place of employment. I consider restrictive covenants, and any similar activity, to be un-American.

If you feel that you are being treated unfairly, then by all means exercise your rights to appeal if the city approves the B&B. If the city truly did lose the original plan, then you may have a legitimate grievance.

As this dispute is in the public domain, its resolution should be a transparent process, without the taciturn approach that the local media has taken thus far. This leads into my other concern, that being the attempt to affect what is the public's business in a manner more suited to a private dispute.

Denny Herzog of the Sentinel also responded to my post regarding who I think is involved, if not taking a silent leadership role, in these efforts.

My contention remains that if an appeal is filed, the names of the property owners should be in the public domain.

I live in a caring community with good neighbors who watch out for one another. Some of us own, some rent. What we do with our property is not and should not be a benchmark or condition of those attitudes.

I understand your concern about what you perceive to be an erosion of the historic quality of your neighborhood. I must respectfully reply that it should not be used as a weapon to restrict the flow of traffic or the reasonable exercise of private property rights.

How this historic section of Grand Junction responds and adapts to the present and future will define its quality and relevance to the community at large for years to come.

Thanks for your concern.

John Linko
420 Teller Ave.