Editorial: Right cause, wrong approach in Avon
Vail CO, Colorado
While still firmly opposed to the Eagle River Fire Protection District’s move to “condemn” land in Avon for a new fire station, we do know a little more about the options now (see story, page A2). And we’re encouraged by Chief Charlie Moore’s statement that the district would still like to find a willing seller rather than exercise the power of eminent domain to get a parcel of land on Nottingham Road that’s apparently still their first choice.
In a country where private property rights are held sacred, it’s tough to find fans of eminent domain ” a process that essentially enables government to force a sale and pay a landowner what they think it’s worth ” not necessarily what could be realized on the open market. Eminent domain has some reasonable precedents where the public good clearly outweighs an individual’s rights (think of a highway that needs to be built with one tiny home in the way of the only feasible route). But it should most certainly be a last resort. In the case of the fire station, we still believe there are options to be explored before the rights of a private landowner are usurped.
At the very least, the District needs to be prepared to compensate Jim Pavelich for the true value of the land ” somewhere north of the $2 million offered so far. That thinking should include what it may potentially cost if the case is appealed and litigated ” which appears likely.
Again, we’d note that the town of Avon ” as it redevelops its downtown core ” should be including room for a local fire station, which would certainly represent ideal response times for emergency calls. By stepping up to the plate, the town can help serve its citizens while heading off what appears to be a misguided use of government power.