If you pay attention to events in Washington D.C., you’ll know that our congress people have an approval rating of about 10%. People look at what is going on around them and feel they have no input; no way to change the course of events. They then extrapolate that despondence onto the events they see closer to home. Recently we have heard things like “the school board is going to raise our taxes again, but there is nothing I can do about it” and “Vail is going to take over this place and Park City is just going to let them”. Yet, if you look at some people trying to make a difference, you will find that the reality, at least on the local level, is far different.
There is no better example than an issue that is starting to simmer in Jeremy Ranch. There is a developer who has the right to build offices and small-retail on 66,000 square feet across from the Jeremy Store. However, the developer is requesting this be expanded 4-fold to about 235,000 square feet with homes, a hotel, and retail space. The Jeremy Ranch Home Owners Association marshaled home owners and brought them to a Summit County Council meeting on Wednesday in Coalville to speak against the issue. The County Council wasn’t prepared to discuss the issue, as it was on the next week’s agenda.
However, a number of very good things happened:
- The County Council pushed the agenda item back a week, so that it could be held in Kimball Junction, instead of Coalville. This enables more of the public impacted to participate.
- The Community Development Director Patrick Putt provided his email and his phone number (yes his phone number) to everyone in attendance and wanted everyone to feel free to call him or email with any questions they have. You don’t see that every day.
- The County Council educated people in attendance on how to use the new Summit County website to sign up to receive emails, so they can stay on top of not only this issue but others ones.
What the people of Jeremy Ranch got was hope and a way forward. They found a local government that was willing to work with them and make it as easy as possible for people to make their case.
While impacting anything at the national level is unlikely for us mere mortals, at least the people of Jeremy Ranch have an even shot. It is possible to make a difference if you just try. Whether your issue is Vail, land use, dogs, or really anything else, at least Summit County seems willing to listen and consider your argument. That’s about all any of us can ask.