Aerial Birds Eye View of Keystone Colorado

Keystone, Colorado. Photo Credit: SEASTOCK (iStock).

There's a new town set to be established in Colorado's ski country – Keystone, in Summit County. Keystone is best-known for Keystone Resort, a ski area that first opened in November of 1970.

On March 28, registered voters of the Keystone community voted to incorporate as a 'Home Rule' town, with the measure passing with 67 percent of the vote. Results won't be made official until April 8, but at last count, 67.52 percent of voters voted 'yes' on incorporation and 73.82 percent of voters voted 'yes' on the question of 'home rule'.

According to the state government, "home rule is a form or structure of governing defined by the citizens of a municipality or county that allows for more control over matters of local significance. Voters can decide to adopt home rule, and through a charter, detail the structure and powers of the local government."

The decision to incorporate Keystone follows a push that's taken place over 25 years, with a formal petition being filed with the Summit County District Court last year.

The effort has been championed by a group called 'Incorporate Keystone.' According to the group, the initiative is the result of "Summit County [being] unable to solve and fund the unmet Keystone community needs" for the past 25 years, with the sentiment expressed that the needs of other parts of the county take priority over the Keystone community.

As part of their justification for incorporation, the organization noted that Keystone has more voters than Dillon, which is already one of the county's official towns. It also noted that on top of 1,298 full-time residents, 2,100 seasonal workforce beds are located in the community. The area is also host to more than 20,000 people on peak ski days, which contributes to a drain on community resources.

Taxes were a concern noted in a document that explained why the Keystone community sought incorporation. The group stated that while the Keystone community provides $8.5 million in taxes and fees for Summit County, they only receive $85,000 in benefits. The group claimed that incorporation would result in $4.1 million per year coming back to the community, also allowing for the creation of a $3.6 million fund over five years.

While many 'unmet needs' were also listed by the group, a few of those included lack of leadership related to local trails and open spaces, traffic safety issues, inconsistency in plowing, and lack of regular law enforcement presence.

Summit Daily notes that if the move to incorporate Keystone proceeds as anticipated, it will still probably be early next year by the time Keystone has a working local government.

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