Land should be open space |

Land should be open space

Homestead Homeowners

As Homestead residents we would like to express our extreme concern over the proposal to replat portions of the Remonov Center (a.k.a. Edwards Corner and Edwards Village Center), removing the open space designation from certain parcels bordering Homestead.

As you are aware, these parcels have been deemed and taxed as open space for over 20 years. The owners have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks for keeping them open. Collectively, every taxpayer in the county has made up the difference over the years. As such, we feel it is a matter of legitimate public concern when changes such as this are requested and this decision should not be made lightly.

This proposal is troubling for many other reasons as well. We are concerned about the overall quality of life and the environment in Edwards these changes could bring in terms of increased density, traffic, and overall congestion. We also are concerned about fairness to surrounding (and not just adjacent) property owners who bought their homes presuming this (and all) open space would remain open.

While the developer has poised that affordable housing may be part of his plans for the land, there is no written guarantee of this and we remind you his last plan for this property was for $1,000-per-square-foot condos, not affordable housing. The developer’s assertion that if they build on these parcels fewer homes will eventually be built in other areas of the county is certainly self-serving and speculative. No proof exists this will ever be the case. Also, it is of public record that in 1996 Rick Mueller touted the virtues of open space to his development when partially re-plating the property. Clearly, this man says whatever suits the moment to accomplish his own agenda.

We also note the Remonov Co. wishes to be handed millions of dollars in development rights that will change a neighborhood’s character and yet they have made no effort to meet with any local governing entity in Edwards to discuss this matter and clearly they are not interested in input from residents of the Edwards community. We hope you will listen to our concerns since they will not.

Further, we are very concerned that the precedent that is being set here (if this is approved) will have far reaching effects on many areas of Eagle County. Per the county assessor, there are currently about 181 parcels of privately owned land in Eagle County that are taxed and platted as open space. Of these parcels, many have development potential and are owned by wel- known developers and corporations.

We feel surely other property owners are watching this situation and are taking a second look at their parcels to see if they could also ask for the open space designation to be removed. This one request, if granted, could well open the floodgates for dozens of such requests.

Additionally, we feel that to grant such a change would make a mockery of the millions of dollars in public funds that have been spent to increase open space in Edwards and the county. What possible justification is there in taxing citizens to buy open space while giving away the open space that exists to a wealthy developer for free Lastly, we insist that Commissioner Arn Menconi recuse himself from these discussions and vote. Arn runs the Snowboard Outreach Society and per the SOS Web site, Robin Hernreich (which, per Dunn/Bradstreet, is a principal of the Remonov Co.) is a director and longtime supporter of the SOS organization and there is clearly a conflict of interest here. Arn Menconi is listed as the executive director and is paid by SOS for his efforts, in part from Hernreich’s contributions. SOS also occupies office space owned by Remenov Co.

We urge you to tell the Remonov Co. that a deal is a deal; and they serve no interest but their own in making this request. If property is deemed open space it should be that forever, not a 20-year tax abatement scheme for the rich. Please firmly deny this request.

Chris and Deb Neuswanger, Ernie and Jo Brown, Lynn Emmert, Sue Rychel, New New Wallace, Karen Gallagher, Buddy Shipley, Anne Mardis, Annie Goodman, Laura Coyne, Carla Guarascio

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