Letter to the editor: County should put Fiester Preserve decision to the voters
I am writing in support of the continuation of the conservation easement on the Fiester property. As a past president of the board of Continental Divide Land Trust and someone who helped lead the successful charge last time the county attempted to quash this conservation easement, I believe I am uniquely qualified to speak on this matter.
All other arguments (many of which are extremely credible) aside, the primary argument I would put forth is that this conservation easement was established in good faith to do exactly what it does, provide a buffer between the County Commons and Bill’s Ranch. The donors of this conservation easement and Bill’s Ranch residents have relied on the law creating conservation easements, which provides such conservation easements in perpetuity thereby adding protection and value to those properties.
Those who would nullify this easement have supplied no reasonable support for eliminating it nor do they seem to understand or care about the danger they pose to state and national programs. Without an argument for public safety or the need to resolve an imminent crisis, this and all the other conservation easements in Summit County should remain intact. Further, taking this land for private development shows a true lack of fiscal and ethical responsibility on the part of our county commissioners.
Finally, to use public funds to support and defend an eminent domain claim is ludicrous. Those commissioners who believe their constituents would support such expenditures are misguided to say the least.
The initiative to nullify the Fiester easement should be quickly discontinued. However, if the commissioners are intent on pursuing their current course, I suggest this matter be placed on the next ballot, and I (and many others) will be happy to assist in gaining the necessary support to sustain this conservation easement.
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