Routt water rights to Eagle County? |

Routt water rights to Eagle County?

Bob Berwyn

A rancher in south Routt County wants to sell water rights worth $5 million for use in the Vail Valley and Eagle County, the Steamboat Pilot & Today reports. The water would come from leftover irrigation water from the Yampa River used by the Flattops Water Company for irrigation on the Toponas Ranch.A water attorney for the proponents of the deal said it wasn’t likely to be controversial because the water is already lost to the Yampa Basin. &quotIt allows a rancher to get some money off a second use of water that, right now, is just being wasted,&quot attorney Glenn Porzak said. The sale could involve up to 1,250 acre-feet.The Pilot & Today reports that some concerns have been raised that the Yampa River water might end up being diverted to the Front Range. But Porzak was quoted as saying that there’s &quotno way&quot the buyers in Eagle County would sell the water, because they need it. No word as to whether the Yampa water figures into a larger scale exchange agreement that would see some other water from Eagle County sources flow to the Front Range.Density cap in Summit County?A proposed revision of the Summit County Comprehensive Plan could include a potentially controversial density cap that would lock development in at currently zoned levels. The provision could prevent future up-zonings, and help protect the still-rural parts of Summit County. The idea, for example, is to prevent the area between Frisco and Breckenridge from becoming like the I-70 corridor between Eagle and Vail, county commissioner Bill Wallace said.The density cap would be linked to a transfer of development rights mechanism that would enable property owners to buy development rights and move them into designated receiving areas, including Keystone and Copper Mountain. Other provisions would provide exceptions for affordable housing and permit density bonuses for site-sensitive developments.Strict density caps have been controversial in some communities, contributing to a rise in housing prices and pushing development into adjacent areas, but Wallace said the proposed density policy meshes with the direction taken by the current BOCC, which has not been eager to approve up-zonings unless a developer can show a significant &quotcommunity benefit.&quotBackcountry Ball kicks off season for Summit HutsThe Summit Huts Association (SHA) is gearing up for winter with a couple of upcoming events that should be of interest to all local backcountry and hut enthusiasts. One of the biggest events of the season for the nonprofit is the Backcountry Ball, scheduled for Oct. 18 at the Maggie in Breckenridge.The Backcountry Ball is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the group, with benefits from the silent auction going toward scholarships that help youngsters get out and enjoy the mountain environment under their own power.This marks the second year for the ball, and SHA operations manager Mike Zobbe said the organization hopes to raise $10,000 for the group. Zobbe said the group operates on a tight budget of about $100,000 per year, and explained that insurance costs have doubled this year.Intrawest partners with National Brotherhood of SkiersIntrawest Corporation has signed on to be a charter partner with the National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS), offering a wide range of discounts and amenities to NBS members at Intrawest resorts, according to a press release.&quotIntrawest resorts have a long relationship with NBS members that we are keen to build on,&quot said Hugh Smythe, president of Intrawest’s Resort Operations Group. With 80 clubs in 75 cities, the nonprofit NBS aims to broaden the ethnic representation on U.S. Olympic winter sports teams. More than 20,000 people participate in NBS-sponsored events each winter. &quotThis partnership will help us to achieve our mission and increase the participation in year-round sports by urban enthusiasts,&quot said NBS executive vice president Schone Malliet.Under the partnership, NBS club members qualify for discounts on lift tickets, lodging, equipment rentals, ski school lessons, greens fees and other amenities each year with restrictions on a few specific peak periods.Marolt gets hall of fame honorsLong-time Aspen skier Max Marolt will be posthumously honored with a spot in the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.Marolt was Aspen’s first Olympian and spent 40 years as a ski industry professional. He died in July at the age of 67 during a ski trip in Argentina. He will be honored during the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony in Denver Oct. 18.Marolt raced in the 1958 World Championships and 1960 Winter Olympics. As an equipment rep, he brought products like Look bindings and Nordica ski boots to American skiers. Located in Vail, the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the state’s 130-year skiing history.Winter Park eyes development strategiesThe Winter Park Manifest reports that the Winter Park & Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce has proposed a series of economic development strategies for local businesses, concerned that the area is lagging behind other parts of Grand County.According to the Manifest, chamber director Catherine Ross described the initiative as a &quotpublic-private effort to benefit our local business community,&quotA proposed economic development council would provide the leadership, economic information and programs that encourage a culture of entrepreneurship, the Manifest reports. More concretely, the strategy calls for a revolving or micro-loan program, enabling small business owners to borrow between $1,000 and $3,000.Local officials also are looking at Intrawest, tabbed to run Winter Park, to boost marketing, with a trickle-down effect expected to benefit the entire area.San Miguel County eyes off-road useThe Telluride Daily Planet reports that regional off-highway vehicle groups have asked San Miguel county commissioners to lift a 1994 ban on OHV use of backcountry passes in the area.In late September, the towns of Ophir, Mountain Village, Telluride, Ouray and Silverton, along with San Miguel and San Juan county representatives and OHV user groups, sat down to discuss all-terrain vehicle use on high country roads something that the counties of Ouray and San Juan welcome economically but San Miguel County rejects environmentally.Jackson citizens oppose redevelopment bidA plan to revitalize Jackson’s downtown by allowing bigger buildings faces a referendum organized by citizens who are opposed to the redevelopment scheme.The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that town officials are surprised by the referendum bid, because they previously received mostly positive input on the plan. A petition in support of the referendum garnered 373 signatures, only four more than the required 369 signatures needed to qualify the referendum.The town council will set a date for special election once the petition has been validated. Town officials criticized the petition organizers for subverting the public approval process for the plan, according to the News and Guide. Some of the critics said the redevelopment plan should also include an affordable housing component. Proponents, on the other hand, characterized the proposal as &quotsmart growth&quot that would stem exurban sprawl outside the town.

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