Can open space taxes complete swap? |

Can open space taxes complete swap?

Cliff Thompson

There’s been talk in unofficial circles that money raised by the county’s new open space tax could be used to make the stalled Vassar Meadows/West Avon land exchange happen.

If the idea is pursued, the money generated by the tax could be used to buy out the land Vail Resorts wants to develop for affordable housing in west Avon.

“”It’s been a topic of casual conversation in Avon and Singletree,” said Ron Wolfe, chairman of the county’s Open Space Advisory Committee, which will make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioner on which preservation projects to fund.

“It’s very conceivable that there could be a proposal coming forth whereby Vail Resorts could be a contributor or possibly even Eagle County,” Wolfe said. “But there’s nothing concrete.”

Vail Resorts’ Jim Mandel said he has heard that using open space funds has been unofficially talked about, but that there have been no “official” discussions.

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“We would be receptive to using the funds,” he said.

The county’s open space tax on residential property was approved by voters in Nov. 2002. The tax will cost the owner of a home priced at $300,000, $35.82 cents a year. It is expected to raise $2.9 million annually.

Exactly how that money will be spent remains to be determined, but it can be used to acquire open space or to retain open space between communities.

“There are many people in Singletree and Avon that would like to see that space remain totally open,” Wolfe said of the west Avon parcel.

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