That Was Zen, This Is Now
If I lived in Boulder, I wouldn't worry so much about what's being built on the land as what might be in the water. Judging from everything from the Ramsey case to Eric Dexheimer's "Karma Crash" (great article!), in the December 18 issue, something must be making these people nutso.

Joy Stein
via the Internet

In response to your article about Binx Selby's development plans in Fourmile Canyon, I expect better research from Westword. I am aware of four canyon residents who support Selby, and you found three of them to interview--yet you could not find any of the hundreds (based on letters to the county and attendance at hearings) who oppose it other than Naomi and Marcy, the founders of RAID. Yes, Naomi is an environmental activist, and we who live here are very grateful for her energy and dedication. But you did not print any of the reasons why we foothills residents are so opposed to Selby's plans.

As in all of the mountain areas of Colorado, Selby's land is limited to one house per 35 acres, or four building sites on his property. Sierra Village was to include between 100 and 175 homes, a store, a church, a wellness center, a school and other public buildings. This on land so steep that the Fourmile fire chief, in explaining her opposition to the church, stated that if a fire were to start there, the department would be unable to save anyone. Selby and his villagers started a bonfire up there in the summer of 1996 without adequate water, and it was pure luck that enabled the fire department to stop it before we had another Sugarloaf. At current levels of development, wells are already going dry up here, yet Selby wanted first a village, then a church with up to 100 people per day and overnights for 64. He has been trying to overdevelop this land for thirty years; the spiritual approach is only his most recent tactic. In 1972 he decided he wanted a road from his land to Sunshine Canyon, so he brought in bulldozers and built it--over public lands and other people's property, with no easement or permit. He has never reclaimed that road as the county required, yet within the last few years he built another drive without a proper permit. He publicly states that the building now under construction is a retreat center, then calls it his home at hearings so the commissioners feel obliged to allow this 27,000-square-foot monster to remain.

Most of us neighbors are sorry that the people you interviewed feel so badly. We feel that a strong sense of community has emerged as we have joined to fight to preserve the foothills, promote safety in our neighborhood and prevent disastrous development from occurring. We are grateful to the commissioners for their support in creating the moratorium on institutional uses in the forestry zone.

Joan C. Soper

Naomi Rachel has given up pets and children as her own personal contribution to the health of the planet, but she still assumes the right to live in the environment she professes to be protecting. A true believer would also surrender that right and relocate to a new, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly high-density domicile such as is found in most modern urban environments. Her failure to take this fundamental action reveals Ms. Rachel's ethical bankruptcy and reduces her and her organization to nothing more than spoiled enviro-nazis.

Totalitarianism wears many masks. I sincerely hope the courts have the wisdom to see through this one.

Robert Poulk
via the Internet

I'm the Stephanie referred to in "Karma Crash." I'd like to respond to some of those interviewed.

Betty Gibbs: Paranoia? It's obvious who's suffering from it. When we passed on the road, I was shuttling someone to/from her car, not spying, as you implied. Need I justify my reasons for using the road? No. It's the only access to my home. I don't think the Westword photographer who got stuck on Arroyo Chico found me scary.

Paul Matosky: Before looking outward to place blame for your pending divorce, look inward.

Karin Swett: You quit RAID? Were you ever a member?
Mr. Wokash: When construction began, I thought, "I hope that's their dream house, because it'll never sell." A house in a hole with little sun and bleak views of blasted rock, which is obstructing a natural drainage and causing rock slides and flooding for neighbors below, has little appeal. Can't sell? "Harassment" isn't the reason. Vandalism, trash-dumping and even burglary are inherent risks of living adjacent to a heavily traveled road. You're not the only resident to experience this. Who opposed your house? It wasn't RAID. However, there are many at the bottom of the canyon who find your project inappropriate. You're confusing the two.

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