Letter to the editor: I would like to live on the Fiester Preserve parcel | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: I would like to live on the Fiester Preserve parcel

Chuck Strain

I’d love to live on the Fiester parcel. No, not in a tent on the bleak scrap of land it’s become, but in a luxury senior community close to services I’ll need. Younger workforce neighbors? A blessing.

You want me to move to Denver, instead?

Sincere conservation pleas by insular Bill’s Ranch bystanders may mask feelings of “not in my backyard!” Indeed, a buffer between them and the County Commons is desirable. But without trees, that land provides little visual or sound screening. Instead of waiting for saplings to mature, astute “Ranchers” might imagine a creatively designed and landscaped cushion of beauty, even conserving spring-blooming pasqueflowers. If done right, I project rising Bill’s Ranch property values.

The parties should settle, achieving a principled and pragmatic land swap: Colorado Open Lands gets a larger, natural, appropriate parcel. And residents get perfectly sited senior and workforce housing.

That compromise would not establish legally controlling precedent that conservation easements aren’t worth protecting. The singular facts here won’t be duplicated elsewhere. We’d all get to hug trees in an area with real conservation value, where vehicles on the soon-to-be expanded highway wouldn’t disrupt our solitude.

I believe that establishing the conservation easement in 1998 was unwise. Some reasonably disagree. But should our government never be able to move beyond any decision when citizens’ needs — and environmental conditions — have significantly changed? Our laws appropriately make it hard to remove such an easement. Here, it’s worth it.

The parcel is a sliver of mostly scrub-covered flatland, surrounded by a busy highway, public service and medical facilities, the well-ordered Peak One Circle neighborhood, and the idiosyncratic potpourri of Bill’s Ranch shacks, cabins and villas. At the south end is Miner’s Creek trailhead, leading to the Ranchers’ true next door natural treasure: the vast White River National Forest.

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