Jan. 23, 2008: Save the ridge

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To The Editor:
I’d like to address a couple of points raised in recent letters (Jan. 9, 2008 edition) about the mega-resort issue. One resident asks:
“Save the mountain for who?”  Save the ridge for future generations, that’s who.  At this time of climate change, responsible people need to save whatever open areas they can.  We have to start to attack the main cause of climate change and that is loss of the natural environment.  Secondarily, putting thousands of additional vehicles on our roads is totally irresponsible due to the increase in carbon output.    
“Let’s look at the alternatives:  development or no development.”  The majority of Save The Mountain members have agreed to not oppose the Wildacres resort, as long as it can be scaled back to fit into the surrounding character of the neighborhood.  We are not saying “no” to development...we are saying no to the senseless destruction of the Belleayre/Highmount ridge.  
“Property taxes will decline due to a greater tax base.”  First, I’d like the writer to show us documented proof that resort development has brought lower taxes to any community in this country.  More services will demand more taxes.   If the property values increase, reassessments will not be far behind.  I have yet to go through a reassessment that reduced my property/school taxes.  Look at the cost of educating one child and look at what the average family of two children pays in school taxes...it doesn’t even come close to covering the expense of one child’s education.
“Tourists do not send children to school in the area....”  Tourists may not, but employees brought in from other areas will send their children to area schools and school budgets will increase due to the increase in students and associated costs.
“The Belleayre region is too close to.....New York and Albany to remain undeveloped.”  Exactly!  That is the reason why the Belleayre/Highmount ridge should not be developed.  There is already too much development between here and those major cities.  People come here to get away from the congestion that follows development.
I do agree with the writer’s statement:  “There are 23 million people within a two-and-one-half-hour drive of the area.  They should be allowed to enjoy it too.”  Yes, we all should be able to enjoy the Belleayre area and that is why I am a member of Save The Mountain.  When we’ve saved this 3,000-foot ridgeline from destruction, we’ve saved it for the enjoyment of future generations.
As to the letter written by former resident, Rick Clark, I’m glad that you’ve moved from this nice, quiet, clean mountain area to an area of development with ongoing hustle and bustle that makes you happy.  This kind of area was obviously not your first choice of lifestyle.
We who choose to live‚ÄÇnear Belleayre‚ÄÇwithout the pollution and congestion of an area like the resorts in Colorado will continue to fight to maintain our precious resources so that we, too, can maintain our happiness.
If these resorts were being planned for construction on Margaretville Mountain, many of the supporters would feel differently.
Freddi Dunleavey,
Arkville