Dear Editor,

Many Park County residents support new business coming to the area. But commercial activity belongs in areas that can support commercial use.

On Feb. 10, the Park County Planning Commission preliminarily approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) that would allow a “Conference and Retreat Facility” at 228 South Pine Drive. This is a residential zoned property that can only be accessed using Pine Drive, the only access Friendship Ranch residents have to get to their homes.

Commercial and residential uses are rarely compatible and every public comment at the hearing expressed concerns. Concerns include impacts to water, fire danger, trespassing, drunk and careless driving, and traffic. While the property was a church camp in the past, this is entirely different.

The CUP would allow for full commercial activity nine months out of the year, not limited summer operations. Guests are also allowed to bring alcohol to these events, something this neighborhood has never seen before.

While the applicant gave assurances of intended limited operations at the property, the CUP will be tied to the property. Any future purchaser could use the property and the additional permitted activities to expand operations.

Friendship Ranch residents relied on land use regulations and existing uses when purchasing their residential properties. Likewise, the applicant purchased the 228 South Pine property knowing it was zoned residential and that only a church camp would be permitted on the property.

Why does Park County have land use restrictions if they can simply be ignored over the voices of impacted residents? I urge all Friendship Ranch residents to ask the Board of County Commissioners this question at the public hearing scheduled for Feb. 23, when a final decision will be made. Additionally, all concerned citizens should email the board and voice your concerns

Mike Tanner


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