Eminent domain debated for Silverton
SILVERTON – The issue of when governments should be able to use the power of eminent domain continues to be debated in San Juan County in a case directly tied to operations of the double-black-diamond Silverton Mountain Ski Area.Jim Jackson of Aspen owns land located among the federal lands used by skiers and snowboarders at Silverton Mountain. Jackson had staged speed-skiing championship there in the 1980s and had long talked about creating a ski area.But in 1999, Aaron Brill arrived, buying private land and eventually installing a ski lift. With the ski area’s famous steeps comes a huge threat of avalanches. Jackson complains that not only are Silverton Mountain’s skiers trespassing on his property, but that the avalanches that Silverton Mountain sets off to reduce the risk trespass his property. He has filed a lawsuit seeking an end.The county government has stepped in to condemn Jackson’s land, using money that Brill has agreed to pay. Brill would not get the land, but it would instead be held by the county or exchanged with the Bureau of Land Management, which owns the property Brill uses for skiing.The county commissioners contend they have an interest in public safety, hence their interest in minimizing the threat of avalanches on the county road. As such, they reason, Brill’s needs are also their needs. Feeding frenzy in real estate slows somewhatLAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Real estate prices in the various resort communities in the Lake Tahoe are have soared up to 30 percent annually. This summer, that pace has slowed. “It’s not the feeding frenzy it once was,” real estate agent, Carol Fromson, told Truckee’s Sierra Sun. There, home prices had appreciated 25 to 30 percent, leaving few homes at less than $500,000.In South Lake Tahoe, where the Heavenly ski area is located, the average selling price rose only 5 percent this summer after a year in which prices lofted from $355,000 to an average of $425,000, reports the Tahoe Daily Tribune.Real estate agents seem not particularly worried. Real estate agent Deb Howard of The South Shore predicts appreciation of 7 to 12 percent during the next year as retiring baby boomers and 1031 tax-deferred exchange continue to drive the resort market.Canadians probe drop in visits from the U.S.WHISTLER, B.C. – Whistler and other resort communities in Canada are awaiting a report that hopes to definitively explain why fewer Americans have been visiting Whistler and other Canadian resorts.In Whistler, visits from Washington state were down 17 percent during the summer and those from California were down 38 percent. Banff and Lake Louise were also reported to be “challenged” by the all-important U.S. market.What’s going on? Doubled gasoline prices? The strengthening Canadian dollar that has made Whistler vacations 30 percent more expensive? All of these ideas and more are being examined.Making Whistlerites even more nervous is the prospect of new U.S rules requiring passports of all citizens returning from Canada. The rule goes into effect in 2007. The Canadian government hopes that an alternative documentation may be satisfactory to the U.S. to establish identity and citizenship.
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