DEAR EDITOR:

This is one citizen’s perspective on why I support ballot question 300. I first want to express gratitude to the citizens for bringing this issue to the forefront and giving our community the opportunity to think about what it wants for its future. 

This perspective comes from a resident of 15 years who works multiple jobs in entry level positions. I live paycheck to paycheck and will probably never be able to own a place in Telluride but I have been blessed to be a member of this community. 

I think that both of these issues are coming from very different perspectives, and it’s time to ask ourselves what we truly want as a community. What’s the endgame of continued tourism growth? Do we want to prioritize being a town and community or do we want to be a tourist destination? Unfortunately, I think we have to choose one as priority No.1, we cannot have both equally. We have allowed tourism to be our priority for so long and it has transformed our community so much that it might not be possible to change: but we do have the opportunity now to reevaluate our priorities and maybe take a step back. 

I believe measure 300 gives power back to the community and its primary residents, while 2D leaves power in the hands of non-community members. I respect both measures, and realize that they both have flaws but I ultimately think the most important aspect of each is the number of short-term rental units allowed. I support lowering that number. I understand the fear that brought about the creation of 2D; we may lose tax dollars, we may have to re-appropriate some of our workforce, we may have to get creative. But we may also gain valuable new community members, a more sustainable workforce and a more enjoyable lifestyle for both tourists and primary residents. As primary residents are exempt from the STR cap, money stays right here in our community and our residents benefit directly. There have been a lot of numbers and scare tactics flying around unnecessarily, especially since neither of these measures are absolute. 

I do not fear for my livelihood, and no one else should either. We all may have to make small sacrifices but if it’s one thing I’ve learned after living here, it’s how to adapt. If everyone shares the burden for the greater good of our community than we will all be stronger for it, and everyone will have a stake. I have no doubt that Telluride will continue to thrive, and I don’t fear change. Sometimes you have to be open to taking a new path with new challenges, not knowing exactly where it will lead. 

With love for our community and curiosity for the future,

Mindy Smith

Telluride