|The county planning commission in a 6-1 vote on Monday turned down a request by the local Dark Skies organization to firm-up current zoning regulations in order to meet minimum standards to achieve a coveted International Dark Sky designation.
In recent weeks, the usual anti-community fear and loathing delegation – always the same faces -- was screaming bloody murder about the proposal, while flogging the stale dead-horse arguments about individual property rights and additional government intrusion.
Property rights, of course, make for good knee-jerk arguments, though in fact such “rights” are virtually non-existent in the form of various state and local zoning regulations which, for example, require proper septic systems, limit building heights and setbacks, and prevent certain activities which may impact neighbors or the community as a whole. Those regs are for the community good.
And it’s the entire “community as a whole” issue that complicates the matter. The local Dark Skies movement has been a boon to the local economy, attracting international publicity and recognition which has
drawn countless visitors and even some new residents to our Valley. As Colorado counties strive to attract those lucrative tourist dollars, Custer County had an ace in the hole with Dark Skies. But the county planners buckled, giving more credence to the non-conserving conservatives whose only real goal is to promote their spiteful extreme agendas while discounting the needs of our local business community and the residents here who actually appreciate our dark skies.
It’s a sad situation that our elected and appointed officials are mere sycophants to a very loud chest-thumping minority which claims to speak for the majority.