Second homeowner gets pilloried in Silverton |

Second homeowner gets pilloried in Silverton

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SILVERTON ” Second homeowners have been the whipping boy in mountain towns for a number of years now. But what could be worse than a second homeowner from Aspen?

That’s one of the undercurrents in a case in Silverton. Jim Jackson lives in Aspen but has a cabin and other property north of Silverton across the road from the new Silverton Mountain Ski Area. Because the ski area has such steep runs, avalanche control is a high priority.

But setting off the avalanches has been causing the snow to pile up on Jackson’s property.

Jackson, who once aspired to create a ski area in the same vicinity, has filed a lawsuit to end the avalanches, even as he has refused offers to sell his land. Now, working on behalf of the developer of the ski area, Aron Brill, the county commissioners are preparing to condemn Jackson’s property.

The commissioners cite two justifications for taking Jackson’s land. First, the new ski area is producing jobs in Silverton, which is otherwise deadly dull in winter. Second, the commissioners wonder if a private property owner can prevent avalanche control work, what might this idea do to efforts to control avalanches along highways and roads?

CRESTED BUTTE ” For at least a few years more, the shortest way between Colorado’s Front Range and Crested Butte will remain a bumpy, dusty one.

The federal government, since the early 1990s, has been chomping at the bit to pave a Continental Divide crossing called Cottonwood Pass, connecting Buena Vista with Crested Butte. The road is already paved on the east side to the summit, although none of it is plowed in winter.

The Forest Service and the Federal Highway Administration have both wanted to pave the road on the west side down to Taylor Park, located near Crested Butte.

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