Frisco mining claims up for sale
FRISCO – Dan and Tina Campbell own a Summit County jewel: A 15-acre, treed parcel surrounded by National Forest in the Miner’s Creek drainage south of Frisco.The inholding, three mining claims one-half mile above Rainbow Lake, was purchased by the Campbells more than 10 years ago. It touches Miner’s Creek Road and could support an off-the-grid home. The property is for sale for $350,000.The Campbells didn’t initially intend to sell it on the free market but an offer by the Open Space and Trails Department was so low, the couple decided to list it about six weeks ago.”They offered less than we paid for it,” Tina Campbell said. “It was an insult and a joke.”Open Space and Trails director Todd Robertson declined to divulge the offer, saying the county does not negotiate publicly. He said the offer was fair, when compared with other mining claims the county acquired with tax funds.”We have a fiduciary responsibility to Summit County taxpayers to not pay more than a property is worth. We’re not low-balling people,” Robertson said. Open space purchases are supported by property tax mill levies first approved by voters in 1993, generating $3 million last year for purchases. Since its inception, the program protected just under 11,000 acres of open space, many of them mining claims, and spent $10.7 million in county funds. It’s possible the county thinks the Campbells paid too much 10 years ago, when they purchased it for about $100,000. But it’s a one-of-a-kind property that is attracting attention, according to the Campbell’s real estate agent, Mike Krueger of Breckenridge Associates.Krueger received at least 50 phone calls from a classified newspaper ad in less than three weeks, plus had eight property showings.”I’m receiving two to three calls a day,” Krueger said.The Miner’s Creek drainage is a popular recreation area coveted for summertime camping, hiking, mountain biking and four-wheeling. In winter, it is popular with cross country skiers and snowmobilers.The property is listed on the U.S. Forest Service Land Ownership Adjustment Analysis, a 1993 document that lists properties the agency wishes to dispose of or acquire. The Campbell’s property is on the wish list and Dillon Ranger District community planner Paul Semmer engaged in conversations with the couple in an attempt to include it in the upcoming Snake River Land Exchange. The exchange will go forward when parties sign an “agreement to initiate,” which would prevent them from selling on the free market. There is no set date for that to occur, Semmer said. He added, “Land exchanges can take up to five years to process.”Tina Campbell said the land exchange process is too long and cumbersome. She and her husband, who are 16-year, self-employed residents living in the Montezuma area, already spent several thousand dollars on studies with the intention of participating in the land exchange.”We know the Forest Service would love to have it, but we already spent a lot of money plus we’re still paying on the property,” she said. “We just got a little tired of that process.”If the parcel is sold, potential developers would have to endure a variance hearing with the Summit County Board of Adjustments in order to build. In addition, access issues would be considered by the Dillon Ranger District, Semmer said. “They would have to apply to use (Miner’s Creek Road) for private access,” Semmer said. “If the inholding is developed, it’s not the impact of building on private property, it’s the access and change of character of the whole area.”Krueger acknowledged the property presents challenges for a purchaser that wants to build, but the Campbells recognize its unique value.”We’ve had a lot of dreams and thoughts about that property,” said Tina Campbell. “It’s really nice … something we’ve cherished having. We’ve camped up there a lot and love to go there to watch the fireworks.” The Campbells want to dispose of it to increase the family’s cash flow, but traditional processes for protection don’t seem to be an option.”As a private property owner, we feel they have this mentality that they can just take your property,” Tina Campbell said. “In our hearts, we know they can’t but it makes it difficult for the average person to run through those hoops.”Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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