Voters strongly reject development initiative

— Routt County voters Tuesday chose to manage their own growing pains and soundly rejected growth control Amendment 24 by 38 percent.

The votes against Amendment 24 totaled 6,549 or 67.68 percent of the vote. Only 2,808 voters, or about 29 percent, cast ballots in favor of the amendment, .

Had the amendment to the state constitution passed, county voters made it plain they wanted to pick up the right to opt out of the measure. They passed Referendum 1C by a narrower margin , 5,061-3,367, than they rejected Amendment 24.

"Even with 24 going down, I think the state Legislature should pay some attention to the questions that were raised," during the campaign, Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said. He was an opponent of the amendment .

Amendment 24 would have given voters in local jurisdictions the opportunity to vote on future growth areas in their communities.

The amendment would have also required local governments to complete detailed studies on the potential impacts of the growth being planned, and to circulate that information to the public prior to a vote. The amendment was spearheaded by well-known Colorado landscape photographer John Fielder.

Ellison said he thinks the Legislature needs to refocus on a compromise bill to create new tools to manage growth that unraveled late in the last session.

However, he thinks it's clear the voters saw the weaknesses of Amendment 24 .

County Commissioner Ben Beall was not a supporter of Amendment 24. However, he said it would be a shame if the Legislature interprets the relatively small number of votes cast in favor of Amendment 24 statewide as a reason to ignore growth control legislation in the future.

Steamboat resident Bob Enever, who spoke out in favor of Amendment 24 during the fall campaign, said he thinks the outcome of the election is a clear sign Colorado needs to enact legislation to limit the amount of campaign spending that can take place on behalf of ballot questions.

"Polls showed the voters favored Amendment 24 by a 60/40 margin before the other side raised $6 million. lion to put out misinformation," Enever said.

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210,

or e-mail: tomross@amigo.net

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