Jones Gulch open space purchase signed |

Jones Gulch open space purchase signed

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Thomas Davidson, director of development for Vail Resorts Development Company, walks his dog Juno Friday afternoon through the open space parcel the county recently acquired from Keystone Resorts.

KEYSTONE – Private property worth millions at the base of Jones Gulch in Keystone was protected from future development this week when the county purchased a 16.497-acre piece of property for just $35,000.The Summit Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to make the purchase, which was required under property owner Keystone Resort’s planned unit development (PUD) approval.Citizens and environmentalists opposed development on the property, located on the east end of the resort next to the Settlers Creek neighborhood, when the ski company tried to develop it several years ago. Jones Gulch is thought to be the last north-south wildlife linkage in the Snake River Basin.

“Environmental groups were concerned about the wildlife corridor,” resort development director Thomas Davidson said. “Well, what are we going to do with a piece of land worth millions of dollars to us? We heard the community say they didn’t want us to own this piece of land anymore.”So, they sold it to the county for a song, said Commissioner Bill Wallace, who praised Davidson and Vail Resorts for cooperating to sell the land to the county.”They sold it to the county for $35,000 – a pretty nice price tag for 16 acres in the Snake River,” Wallace said. Property preserved for wildlife habitat

The property was first zoned for development in 1990 and then again in 1995 as part of the Keystone Resort PUD.In 2001, the former Vail Resorts-Intrawest development partnership proposed 21 single-family homesites on the property. The BOCC denied the application because it wanted to protect wildlife migration patterns.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Colorado Division of Wildlife said the proposed subdivision would have likely disrupted the movement patterns of forest animals and kept them from using the habitat. In 2002, the development company, which eventually became a sole Vail Resorts entity, agreed to amend the PUD to preserve the property. The deal the company made with county officials involved preserving it in exchange for a parking lot on Montezuma Road known as Parcel H that was approved in May.

The sale to open space equals about $2,100 per acre and was based on the assessed value of nearby open space parcels. A Nordic ski trail on the property will be preserved and maintained by the Keystone Neighbourhood Company. The open space fund is generated through property taxes approved by voters in 1993 and 1999.Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at

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