When the Western Colorado Congress gave its "Not-So-Smart Growth" awards Sept. 21, it was no surprise when the "winners' failed to show up. The grassroots coalition held the event to showcase the worst examples of development on the Western Slope - a follow-up of sorts to Gov. Roy Romer's 1995 "Smart Growth" awards. Had its representatives been there, the resort town of Breckenridge would have taken home the "Wham, Bam, Sorry Ma'am" award recognizing the worst traffic intersection. Montezuma County was awarded the "Going, Going, Gone" award for its toothless zoning scheme guaranteeing loss of open space to development. Top awards went to the Artesian Valley Ranch, a 244-house subdivision near Durango, and to the La Plata County commissioners for approving it. They won both the "Hear No Evil" award for generating the largest public outcry and the "Good Deer, Bad Deer" award for creating the greatest threat to wildlife. Most prize winners were less than ecstatic, but the coalition reported that someone from the Russell Stover factory-outlet candy store in Montrose called to thank them for their "Big Box" building-design award.

For more information about the awards or to nominate someone for next time, contact Western Colorado Congress at P.O. Box 472, Montrose, CO 81402 (970/249/1978).

*Katie Fesus

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