Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Save our "legacy land"

Tony Evans recently wrote two articles of seminal significance. The first, "Residents question need for Quigley Development,' asks "Is this necessary and at what cost?" The land up Quigley Canyon is identical to Ketchum's Warm Springs Resort area currently on its P&Z's docket for development by the Helios Corp.

This is Legacy Land. It is too valuable and close to the downtown areas. The chimerical imperatives of property developers, tax revenues, and laissez-faire capitalism are not relevant.

If Quigley goes, people will remember when it was open country and they could wander freely up the canyon. The same applies to the Helios hotel. That building does not belong on prime land along a creek. The P&Z commissioners will have to live with the responsibility of turning into private enclaves land that was once publicly accessible. This disrupts the intimacy and cohesion of small mountain communities.

Mr. Evans' second article, "Foreclosure haunts valley residents," demonstrates how adding more single-family homes falls into the same trap. P&Z commissioners must recognize that that the laws of supply and demand have now changed. Forever. Excess house supply means lower prices. Falling property values is the reason this country is in crisis.

Your paper can help keep Hailey and Ketchum from becoming clones of the suburban nightmares we see in other American towns. These towns lack a sense of history, community ties, and the "character of place."

Help stop the eradication of Legacy Land. Limiting the use of natural areas to a privileged few will be regarded with regret and anger. We will feel nostalgic for that "old Idaho feeling" you can only get in open country. It's a feeling that gives us a visceral sense of belonging, and it's a feeling that makes us want to live here, especially when times are tough.

Andrew Fitzgerald


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