Editorial: Shadow Mountain in limbo
January 11, 2012
Moffat County commissioners and Craig city councilors need to sit down at the same table to discuss their common goals concerning development. Only then can they decide the best solution for the Shadow Mountain subdivision, which has been stuck far too long between the two entities.
Consider Shadow Mountain, a subdivision in limbo.
The City of Craig won't take it. Perhaps that's no surprise, given the massive amount of work it will take to fix its aging infrastructure.
Shadow Mountain, then, falls under Moffat County's purview by default — except that its water and sewer lines, which weren't built to city codes to begin with, are on Craig's grid, meaning the city's responsible for fixing them.
So, the subdivision remains caught between two government entities that at times seem more adept at sparring with each other than collaborating for the good of constituents.
To be fair, the Moffat County Commission and the Craig City Council have pledged to work together to fix Shadow Mountain's crumbling infrastructure.
But, city and county officials need to put this and other issues aside for a moment.
Long-term solutions start with a shared vision and shared goals.
The first step in fixing Shadow Mountain is for councilors and county commissioners to come to an accord on the big picture, or what they want the city and county to look like in years to come.
Their goals can't be all that different.
The editorial board believes if councilors and commissioners have the region's best interests at heart, their visions will mesh.
Only once this rapport is established can city and county officials begin tackling joint ventures.
Shadow Mountain is a perfect place to start, not only because its needs are immediate, but also because it's a key component to Craig and Moffat County's future.
Well-maintained and appealing residential areas are crucial to development, and Shadow Mountain is near the city's most visible area of possible future growth.
The city and county also must consider this area's future.
Shadow Mountain cannot remain in a hazy netherworld, politically speaking. At some point, one or the other must take full responsibility for maintaining it.
Annexing it to the city seems the most logical solution.
Personal property rights come into play, so whatever long-term solution the city and county reach must take that into account.
Yet making Shadow Mountain a permanent part of the city at least warrants consideration.
A word on funding the much-needed improvements to Shadow Mountain: The city and county are right to seek money for Shadow Mountain from the state's Department of Local Affairs.
DOLA funds were designed to offset energy impact, and the editorial board can think of no other project that better fits the bill.
Shadow Mountain was initially designed to house workers who flocked to build Craig Station, and it remained as a visible reminder of how much energy development means to the local economy.
Now, if only the state would quit plundering DOLA's coffers to pad its shrinking revenues.
With Colorado's financial forecast looking brighter than it did a few months ago, state officials should get serious about leaving DOLA funds untouched for anything but their intended purposes.
In the meantime, elected county and city leaders have their own work cut out for them. The time for cooperation is long overdue.
Shadow Mountain shouldn't be left to languish in limbo.