The truth is you elected us to protect the special quality of life we enjoy here in Summit County, especially in the Snyderville Basin. You told us in no uncertain terms that open space, trails, appropriate densities, views, ridgelines, recreational opportunities and a unique but threatened lifestyle are all vital to our future. You told us to plan and remain true to our campaign promises. And this is exactly what we have done.
We have involved you, the citizens, in literally hundreds of meetings and have adopted policies and ordinances in public, not behind closed doors, designed to implement your will.
Not everyone is happy with our accomplishments. Certain developers, large landowners and their lawyers have challenged our efforts seeking to overturn your desires at every turn. The financial stakes have never been higher. There are now 26 lawsuits pending against the county, but it’s funny that 16 of them are seeking to overturn our publicly adopted land-use plans and 11 of those have been brought by one large law firm representing several of these mega development interests. Some of the other lawsuits are challenging our attempts to guarantee that all the citizens of Summit County have reliable access to water.
So don’t be fooled by the constant drumbeat of media noise and rhetoric, it is your interests as citizens of Summit County and your right to define a "quality of life" that are being challenged.
On numerous occasions we have tried to settle some of these suits out of court. But it has become abundantly clear that the only settlement being sought is for the county to capitulate and throw out the land-use and water regulations so carefully crafted to protect your interests.
Summit County is under legal assault and the unseemly barrage of legal actions is an attempt to divert our attention and weaken our resolve. We will not be sidetracked, deterred or intimidated by this paper and verbal blizzard. We sincerely believe we are reflecting your will and will continue to stand up for what we believe is right. We have every confidence we will prevail both in court and in the arena of public opinion.
So next time you wonder why there are so many lawsuits, ask yourself a few simple questions:
1. Why did I move here?
2. What quality of life to I want now and for my kids?
3. Who is filing all these lawsuits against Summit County and what is it they want?
Then ask yourself what you want your elected county commissioners to do to protect Summit County and its future, and we think the answer will be obvious.
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Steve Berlack, whose son died in an avalanche in 2015, writes in a letter to the editor that “[i]f you want to venture into the backcountry, do it safely. Get the education you need. … Understand the forecast. Make conservative decisions like your life depends on it.”