Paving Paradise?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with SnowHome Properties

This is for those of you who live in metro areas, cities, places where you expect to transport yourself, your kids and friends, over roads made of bituminous materials known as pavement, where you aren't bothered by dust (or at least its effects are minimal).  Because you may not understand this story.  Then again, this is not where you live.  You see, there is a small community just south of Breckenridge a few miles.  It's made up of a mish-mash of irregular lots ranging from a third of an acre to about three acres.  Mostly single family homes with a few condos tossed in for good measure.  It's at the headwaters of the Blue River, in the valley between mountain peaks where the snow melts and flows down - to form wetlands, springs and ultimately the Blue.  And there are no paved roads, save for Highway 9, which cuts through the valley, bringing traffic the 9 miles or so to and from Hoosier Pass, that transitory monument that connects Park County (Fairplay, Alma, et al) with Summit County and its ski resorts, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone. 

The little incorporated town is called, of course, Blue River, and there is a healthy debate going on regarding the roads that run from that paved Highway 9 into the various subdivisions and homes.  Do you pave or not?  Keep the dirt and usually pot-holed routes, or provide smooth tarmacs that, among other things, would be easier on the vehicles traversing the routes. 

Blue River is the type of place people look for that gives them a bit more privacy.  They can still easily get to the ski hills, but they don't have to live in frenetic activity at the base of any ski mountain.  This is historically second homes - getaways rather - that have become more and more primary homes.  And therein is the gist.  If you are "getting away", looking for privacy, wanting that "mountain feel", you are probably very comfortable with dirt.  After all, whether you use the home a few times a year or every weekend, it's still a second home, your private getaway in the mountains.  But, if you live there full time - and Blue River has provided some of the more affordable housing in the County - and commute to work every day, pavement probably makes more sense.  The lines, however, are not clear, and there are lots of crossover homeowners.

The Town Council seems to be leaning toward pavement, and some residents are a bit upset with that perception.  But, the vote is coming up.   And the lines are being drawn.  Donald Jones believes pavement will eliminate "obnoxious dust" and will improve property values.  But Jaime Frieze asks, "What's next, sidewalks and street lights?  This is a sleepy little town." 

So, enjoy your paved streets at home.  But, when you come to the mountains, what will you want?


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