Editorial: Sensible step for open space
Vail CO, Colorado
Development rights have tangible value on large properties, such as ranches.
Selling them in the form of conservation easements actually provides an elegant solution fully in in line with capitalistic values for adding to Eagle County’s open space at relatively low cost for the buyer. That buyer is us, of course, through the tax we imposed on ourselves in 2002 precisely for open space.
The concept has long been accepted in places like the Roaring Fork Valley and Routt County. But it’s still controversial here.
Critics still occasionally moan about preserving Bair Ranch along the Eagle-Garfield County line from future development. If you recall, it was a fiery debate at the time the county commissioners voted 2-1 in 2004 to approve the deal.
There was some heat over a similar vote last week to spend $2.1 million buying the development rights to the Bud Gates ranch off the Colorado River Road north of Dotsero, though it was much cooler than with Bair. Progress, in other words.
Commissioner Peter Runyon got it exactly right explaining that purchasing the development rights in the hinterlands at a bargain now will pay off big later. What seems way out there these days won’t seem so far away sooner than you might think.
The county will make much more progress on the open space front ” and better fighting sprawl ” by focusing on the currently rural areas for open space while letting the core population areas develop.
That constitutes an effective, even thoughtful strategy for future generations of county residents.
Secondarily, it helps with traffic and all those green values we are embracing as a community.
Runyon and fellow Commissioner Sara Fisher made a sound decision.
” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board
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