GMF Leaders Kill “Keep Green Mountain Falls Beautiful” Proclamation

The Gazebo, Green Mountain Falls, CO

Trustees Approve New Liquor License Permits and Special Event Bids

Rick Langenberg

In the first sign of division among a new group of leaders, the Green Mountain Falls Board of Trustees held a spirited debate last week over a short, one-page, “Keep GMF Beautiful” proclamation that generated a surprising amount of public comment and found two newly-elected council members at odds with each other.

In the end, the trustees killed the proclamation mainly due to fears over a precedent it could set in trying to define beauty and to using resources in doesn’t have in complying with possible regulatory steps outlined in the measure. And as stated by Mayor Todd Dixon and former trustee member Katharine Guthrie, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

As an example, they partially referred to the controversy surrounding the artwork at the fitness court at the entrance of GMF that had sparked previous concerns with some saying the New York City-based graffiti art didn’t fit into the character of GMF. Others, though, contended that if an outside entity or group is footing the bill for the pro-recreation project, why not.

New trustee member John Bell went further and suggested that the proclamation could unfairly obligate strained public resources and become a “detriment to us as a governing body.”

“The language (in the proclamation) is very specific,” argued Bell. “This is a stretch. This is a very impractical statement,” he added.

But the author of the proclamation, new trustee member Don Walker, staunchly disagreed and refused to back down from the language proposed. Based on statements in the document, the proclamation is designed to protect the town’s natural and cultural resources, outdoor amenities and residential character. “Everything listed there (in the document) is town policy,” said Walker.

He declined to soften the language or refer the measure to the town’s attorneys for further input. Walker received support from Trustee Sean Ives, who believes the document is quite general and didn’t really cite any regulatory action.

Dixon stated that he had no problem with the “Keep GMF Beautiful” concept but objected to the language. He reminded the council that GMF has limited resources and can’t commit current and future staff towards goals that are not easily defined.

At issue in the proclamation dealt with steps calling for “government bodies to conduct, direct, administer, and guide its governing activities, and its staff to preserve, protect and enhance our treasured natural and cultural resources of Green Mountain Falls, and proclaims 2024 as: KEEP GREEN MOUNTAIN FALLS BEAUTIFUL THE GEM OF THE ROCKIES.” Also, a statement was made, indicating that the board should “create a legacy for the future generations of Green Mountain Falls residents and visitors, by observing and keeping with the goals set forth in the 2019 Comprehensive Plan.”

Critics of the document, such as Guthrie, indicated that this wording is just too subjective and could result in wasting resources by pursuing impractical goals. She noted that the master plan is just advisory.

Town Manager Becky Frank suggested referring the document to the town’s attorneys for comment. Questions were also raised regarding whether the document should be listed as a proclamation or a declaration.

But Walker didn’t want to take this route and have the town foot the bill for extra legal expenses.  He called for a vote on the proclamation. According to the minutes of a previous meeting, he believes the proclamation was simply aimed at “making the beauty of the community a top priority.”

The trustees ended up with a 2-2 tie, with Ives and Walker supporting the proclamation, while Dixon and Bell casting no tallies. A tie vote, though, rendered a defeat for the “Keep GMF Beautiful” effort.

New Liquor Licenses and Special Events

Surprisingly, this split political hand followed a slew of solid votes on new events and licenses that generated strong support for forthcoming activities this summer, with absolutely no dissent.

The trustees unanimously approved the liquor license of the new El Pueblo Cantina restaurant, expected to open in late June, in a spot operated by the Mucky Duck fine dining eatery for years.  Jesse Stroope, the operating manager of the new venture, represented the entity in their bid for a new liquor license.  But no questions were raised, as Town Clerk Bo Ayad indicated that all paperwork was in order.

Stroope, though, had a busy night at the podium, as he outlined in more detail some of the special event bids made by the Green Box Arts festival for its block party festivities in early July, along with a July 13 Beer and Blues musical event. And as the chairman of the parks, recreation and trails advisory group, he supported the application of Dani Hainds as a new committee member.

In addition, the trustees approved a liquor license for the annual Bronc Day event.

Also, Guthrie announced the schedule for the new Monday concert series, put on by the Ute Pass Chamber of Commerce. These outdoor concerts are held at the Gazebo Island, and sometimes occur at the Farm stand during increment weather.

“This is back by popular demand,” said Guthrie. She cited the variety of musical genres displayed during the series. She said that the concerts were so popular last summer, that the series will continue into September in 2024.