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Old 01-17-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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CCVDUR is the perfect embodiment of someone infected with the "Paradise Syndrome": A resident of some overgrown metro blob that dreams of living in some idyllic mountain town, running some sort of business, having plenty of time to recreate, and having no one tell him anything about how he uses his property. It's a great little dream, but that's all that is--a dream, and one that comes true for almost no one. Sort of like my dream of finding a wife that looks like Heidi Klum, cooks like Julia Child, keeps house like Martha Stewart, has money like Warren Buffett, and absolutely worships the ground I walk on. Nice little dream, but I recognize it ain't ever gonna happen.

Well, I've watched the "Paradise Syndrome" victims come and go in Colorado for over four decades now. The reality is much different than the fun little dream. They find out that those pleasant mountain towns are nowhere near as idyllic as they thought. Since they are often overrun with tourists and transplants alike from the same metro blobs as the "metro refugee" comes from, those "idyllic" towns also attract a lot of the same "big city" problems--lack of community involvement, illicit drug trade and use, worship of material wealth and little else, etc. The Paradise Syndrome victim also usually finds out that running a business in rural Colorado can be exceedingly difficult for a myriad of reasons--transient non-work-committed employees, an inability to pay what amounts to living wage to employees (thus, a lot of turnover), fierce competition, and often brutally long work hours--especially in the case of seasonal businesses that have to make most of their gross income in a few busy months. The latter circumstance usually also means that the Paradise Syndrome business owner is the very busiest with little free time in the height of the best seasons to recreate in Colorado--either the summer tourist season or the ski season. I know several former resort business owners (including a couple of them from Durango) who actually found way more time to recreate in Colorado after they gave up their businesses and relocated to the Front Range or other states to work a decent-paying "regular" job.

When it comes to minimal land-use regulation, that is a dream, too. Places overrun with growth almost always have to enact zoning, building regulations, and other restrictions if, for no other reason, to protect property owners from engaging in practices that damage property values of their neighbors. Add to that Colorado's water laws concerning surface water and well water (that most urbanites don't understand) that mean that you don't have any right to use water that you don't own a right to, even if it is running across your property. Oh, and then there is the fact that most mountain areas of Colorado are between 50% and 90% Federal-owned--which means that you may have the Federal government as your neighbor. And, if you happen to be in area with petroleum, natural gas, or coal--such as La Plata County--the feds can lease that land next to you for mineral production. Oh, and in many areas of Colorado, the Federal government reserved 50% or 100% of the mineral rights on private property way back at patent.

Of course, there are certain people who just can't be bothered with facts, are determined to believe what they think they know instead of what really is, have no interest in listening to anyone that has a dissenting viewpoint based on decades of hard-won experience, and then wonder why their bad outcome is the same as thousands that made the same mistakes before them. I guess they deserve what they get.
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,325,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Of course, there are certain people who just can't be bothered with facts, are determined to believe what they think they know instead of what really is, have no interest in listening to anyone that has a dissenting viewpoint based on decades of hard-won experience, and then wonder why their bad outcome is the same as thousands that made the same mistakes before them. I guess they deserve what they get.
So you're gonna tell me my plan to open a poker parlor/saloon in Parrott City won't pan out?
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:26 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,855,266 times
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Wink Further north

If looking to live in either Durango, CO, Santa Fe, NM, or Crestone, CO, the writer/philosopher should hopefully be a successful one. Or at least adept at philosophizing why money doesn't matter in these three expensive areas.

The Crestone area might be most lenient to the libertarian wishing to do as they want on their property. Although one would have better luck further south, near Taos, NM. There are places there, such as Tres Orejas, which might theoretically have zoning and building restrictions, but the actuality on the ground doesn't seem to bare this out. Lots of philosophers out that way, and by the look of it mostly poor.

With just over 5 million people, Colorado may be becoming too crowded for the true libertarian. There is surely more room to roam, and less interest in liberal zoning practices, in such places as Wyoming and Montana. The true frontiers person, however, may wish to look further afield in a place such as Alaska. If the federal government owns the better part of Alaska, and places such as Anchorage are little different than other urban areas, it still remains that over half the state is an Unorganized Borough:
Unorganized Borough, Alaska - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Assuming one could find and afford private property in that area, figure out how to survive on it, and not miss likely very remote neighbors and services, well then, one could probably do pretty much just as they pleased.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,325,360 times
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Better strategy - move to a small, cheap apt. and spend the rest of your life figuring out how to grow the world's food in a flowerpot.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:18 PM
 
9,817 posts, read 19,065,986 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
CCVDUR is the perfect embodiment of someone infected with the "Paradise Syndrome": A resident of some overgrown metro blob that dreams of living in some idyllic mountain town, running some sort of business, having plenty of time to recreate, and having no one tell him anything about how he uses his property. It's a great little dream, but that's all that is--a dream, and one that comes true for almost no one. Sort of like my dream of finding a wife that looks like Heidi Klum, cooks like Julia Child, keeps house like Martha Stewart, has money like Warren Buffett, and absolutely worships the ground I walk on. Nice little dream, but I recognize it ain't ever gonna happen.

Well, I've watched the "Paradise Syndrome" victims come and go in Colorado for over four decades now. The reality is much different than the fun little dream. They find out that those pleasant mountain towns are nowhere near as idyllic as they thought. Since they are often overrun with tourists and transplants alike from the same metro blobs as the "metro refugee" comes from, those "idyllic" towns also attract a lot of the same "big city" problems--lack of community involvement, illicit drug trade and use, worship of material wealth and little else, etc. The Paradise Syndrome victim also usually finds out that running a business in rural Colorado can be exceedingly difficult for a myriad of reasons--transient non-work-committed employees, an inability to pay what amounts to living wage to employees (thus, a lot of turnover), fierce competition, and often brutally long work hours--especially in the case of seasonal businesses that have to make most of their gross income in a few busy months. The latter circumstance usually also means that the Paradise Syndrome business owner is the very busiest with little free time in the height of the best seasons to recreate in Colorado--either the summer tourist season or the ski season. I know several former resort business owners (including a couple of them from Durango) who actually found way more time to recreate in Colorado after they gave up their businesses and relocated to the Front Range or other states to work a decent-paying "regular" job.
Positive reps for that.

In this case I agree with you and I don't see it as a negative viewpoint, only reality.

For instance if one says "well I'll get a job in the tourism biz". Cool. But you end up working your butt off in the summer and winter(if in a ski town) so you can make ends meet in the dead season in between. The nice time of the year when the tourists are there is when you have to work not play. Granted I had some cool times at work, especially in the summer time, but still it was work.

If one says "well in that case I'll just slum it and work a little and enjoy life". Cool. But then one can only exist on ramen noodles and someone elses couch for so long. Or like my friend did and camped out. Or like another co worker did and lived in the parking lot at work.

If one says "well I'll start a business". But then you have high rent, high overhead, huge turnover of employees, few local customers due to the fact the population isn't sizable at all or if tourists again you have that few months of the year that is busy and then dead the rest of the year.

Probably on average in the winter I used to work around 80-100 hours a week, in the summer maybe less but probably still 7 days a week. I chose to do that for different reasons(mainly there were things I wanted to do in the off season), but it was only sustainable for so long.

I have family in Ridgway and they work in Grand Junction and New Mexico. Another relative in Montrose hasn't made a dime in a year in their business. My relatives and friends in Vail are struggling big time right now.

I encourage people to go live the Colorado Rocky Mountain dream. I did. But understand a lot of it is a Catch 22. It's not all peaches and strawberries. The winters are long, work and income is sketchy, jobs are few, living expenses high.

So for a lot of these people armed with stats telling me how peachy it is, when I've been there and done it and they are some other place, I say go for it. Go the distance. I think often people have to learn the hard way.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:41 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,164,419 times
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Default This is the reality . . .

I've related this story before about a friend of mine, but I'll repeat.

A Colorado native, he came to southwest Colorado years ago to work in the natural resource industry. When that industry went into a coma in southwest Colorado in the early 1980's, he desperately wanted to stay in the area, so he started a tourist-related business. He was a sharp businessperson--actually one of the smartest people I've ever known--but he struggled for years to keep his business going. He worked long hours, kept expenses to a minimum, and lived frugally. Fortunately, his wife had a pretty good-paying job with the government, though she had to make a long commute every day. In lean years, it was her salary that helped keep both their personal finances and the business afloat.

A few years ago, it was becoming painfully obvious to my friend that the demographic of his customer base was changing--there were fewer potential customers and they were spending less money. He began doing freelance work in his old field of natural resources in the off-season which meant that he spent months every year away from home. It was becoming both a financial struggle and a big stress on his personal life to keep his business alive.

The kicker finally came when his wife was offered a substantial salary increase and promotion if she was willing to relocate out of state. As good fortune would have it, my friend was able to find a position in the natural resource industry in the community where she was to be working. So, they left southwest Colorado. My friend tells me that there is not a day that goes by that he does not miss southwest Colorado, but that his life is much better now. He and his wife's combined income is nearly three times what they were able to make in southwest Colorado, and--even with a nicer home--their living costs are about 25% less. For the first time in 20 years, they are actually able to set aside money for their retirement. Even so, my friend says that the years of low income in southwest Colorado will mean that he will probably have to work well beyond age 65. He says, with some bitterness, that had he followed some of his co-workers who left southwest Colorado in the 1980's to work elsewhere, he would probably be financially able to retire right now. That's the price of living in much of Colorado away from the Front Range--and it can be steep.
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,325,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
That's the price of living in much of Colorado away from the Front Range--and it can be steep.
I've heard the same from people who chose to live in Vermont. Best advice if you can do it - BYOI (bring your own income). Fortunately with the internet that's becoming more of a reality.

I work for a very large company (the number of employees would populate several La Plata Counties) which to eliminate facility costs is trying to virtualize as close to 100% of its employees as possible. If they're doing that I'm sure their competitors and large firms in many other industries are as well. This will likely offset a good portion of the problems experienced by local industries. This has really accelerated in just the past few months so the recognizable impacts should be seen shortly. As people sell their homes in the metro suburbs and move to where they really want to live you will see more and more residents in more residentially desirable areas earning their incomes elsewhere.

Last edited by CAVA1990; 01-17-2010 at 11:21 PM..
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:52 PM
 
857 posts, read 1,351,692 times
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Default Postings On Colorado Mountain Towns

Many of the above posts provide opinionated generalizations, without contradicting any of the specific economic information, that I have provided w/ links.

Simply providing a general statements that "life is tough when living the Colorado dream," or, "I've lived here for decades," or, "Life is tough away from the front range," or, "you work too much during the tourist season," or falsely accusing me of being some kid from a big metro w/ no knowledge of the outdoors ... well, all this means nothing given that Colorado mountain towns have the lowest unemployment in the Western US, i.e. 4.6% in Durango.

Is it not obvious that work is seasonal at high elevations? I already mentioned one of my employment fields, and it is seasonal.

The exceptions are those who commented specifically on other options (Durango, Santa Fe, Taos, Crestone, and CAVA mentioned Virginia).

Based on the low Colorado mountain town unemployment, I'm sure that any determined person, myself included, could move to any Colorado town w/ low unemployment, and find work.

Again, you can't get a job w/ 9.5%-15% unemployment in many areas of Calif, Arizona, and Nevada. Housing starts are down, and there is very little new construction of new stores. Existing retail enterprises aren't hiring. I drove through them this summer. Huge homeless population, high drug problems (especially meth), and high crime. Santa Cruz, CA, supposedly a beach paradise, was horrible.

Until my proposal is defeated with specific economic, socioeconomic, or other information relevant to relocation, then my proposal still stands as a legitimate possibility.

I'll continue to propose this on my terms that this is a good idea based on my goals.
Eventually, someone who actually moved to Durango, Salida, Vail, Alamosa, Crestone, Taos (NM), etc., w/ the same idea, will respond one way or another.

Last edited by CCCVDUR; 01-18-2010 at 12:09 AM..
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:00 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,325,360 times
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FYI:

The Durango Herald - Durango Classifieds
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:14 AM
 
9,817 posts, read 19,065,986 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCCVDUR View Post
Many of the above posts provide opinionated statements, without any specific economic information, that I have provided in ample amounts w/ links.

Simply providing a general statement that "life is tough when living the Colorado dream," or, "I've lived here for decades," cannot compete with the observation that Colorado mountain towns have the lowest unemployment in the Western US, i.e. 4.6% in Durango.

The exceptions are those who commented specifically on the options I suggested (Durango, Santa Fe, Taos, Crestone, and CAVA mentioned Virginia).

Based on the low Colorado mountain town unemployment, I'm sure that any determined person, myself included, could move to any Colorado town w/ low unemployment, and find work.

Until this argument is defeated with specific economic, socioeconomic, or other information relevant to relocation, then my proposal still stands as a legitimate possibility.
Well I don't think anyone is here to argue with you and whatever "proposal" you have is yours alone. Debate you and inform you maybe, but you do what you need to do. I don't have a dime in it! ROFL! I'd say rather than barking about it, just move and see for yourself, especially since you have it all figured out.

I mean what would me and my family know? I've only actually lived and worked up there for 8 years of seasons in Colorado and my family goes back 4 generations in Colorado, all involved in tourism, medicine, aerospace, real estate and mining. I guess that experience just can't match someone who spent a week there and pulled some numbers.

As I said, which seemed to fall on deaf ears before, employment rates show just that. Not about cost of living, wages or anything else. Just how many people are supposedly employed or not. Doesn't even tell how weak or strong the job market may be.

I'm sure you can move to any Colorado town and find work of some type. The financial realities come thick and fast. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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