Top 5 most read stories on SkyHiNews.com, week of July 11
1. Colorado mountain towns say they can’t handle any more tourists amid labor, housing crises
Crested Butte has pulled its summer ads as businesses struggle to accommodate crowds. A Telluride councilwoman wants to redirect tourism funding toward housing. The Colorado Tourism Office is without a leader. Chaffee County commissioners rejected a 20,000-person annual music festival.
Angst over tourism is growing as mountain communities emerge from crowd-restricting pandemic closures. Overlapping waves of visitors and new residents are amplifying an unprecedented labor shortage and housing crunch. And with that seasonal distress comes a growing call to silence the statewide promotion of Colorado as a vacation wonderland.
“It’s a carrying capacity issue,” said Geneva Shaunette, a Telluride town council member who wants to redirect $2 million a year to workforce housing from tourism-campaign spending. “With the drastic situation we are experiencing with housing and a lack of employees we simply cannot handle that many people. We need to ease off the gas of marketing. Telluride already is on the map. The whole ‘Come to Telluride because how great it is,’ we physically can’t handle that anymore. And we have many better and more important things to spend our money on.”
2. Berthoud Pass closed due to crash
Update: The crash has been cleared and both lanes are open.
Original: Both lanes of US Highway 40 on the west side of Berthoud Pass are closed due to a car crash.
The closure is between Robins Roost and mile marker 243, and drivers should expect delays.
3. Morgan Creek Fire in Routt County grows to 3,858 acres
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Morgan Creek Fire in Routt County has grown to 3,858 acres and is 0% contained, according to a Monday update filed on Inciweb.
The Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team Black, a Type 2 team, has been ordered and is mobilizing to fight the Morgan Creek Fire.
Movement continues to the southeast into Mount Zirkels Wilderness Area and toward Floyd Peak as well as the Burn Ridge Fire and Middle Fork Fire burned areas.
4. Grand Lake declares housing crisis
On Monday, Grand Lake declared a workforce housing crisis shortly after at least one of the town’s elected officials indicated he’s ready to get Grand Lake into the housing business.
During discussions about the crisis declaration, Town Manager John Crone told trustees the resolution might help Grand Lake elbow its way to the front when seeking state and federal funding and likened the resolution to “a yell for help.”
“The idea behind this declaration is when applying for state or federal funds to help offset (the housing shortage) … this just strengthens our position when dealing with those governments or agencies that have funds available,” Crone said, adding that the declaration won’t grant the mayor any additional powers.
5. Proposed concrete plant brings concerns; developer says it could help ease housing crisis
The hearing for a mobile concrete batch plant near Colorado Adventure Park has been continued while the county seeks more information.
Grand County commissioners opened a Tuesday hearing regarding a conditional use permit for Cornerstone Holdings’ proposed concrete batch plant from applicant Clark Lipscomb. The requested permit would be for five years, operating 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Community Development Director Robert Davis outlined the proposed permit to commissioners, explaining concerns about water rights, traffic, air pollution and more. Approval of the permit would come with 18 conditions that must be fulfilled before the concrete plant could begin operating.
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