Letter to the editor: Summit Association of Realtors board opposes Feister development

Dana Cottrell
Summit Association of Realtors board president

The Board of Directors of the Summit Association of Realtors opposes the county’s efforts to condemn the Feister Preserve using eminent domain to remove the entire conservation easement for the purpose of developing the property. If approved by a panel of judges, this would be the first time in Colorado history that an entire conservation easement was removed on a property.

The county’s pursuit of condemnation to remove the entire conservation easement cast doubt to its overall commitment to open space and the precedent it sets to take it back. Conservation easements are designed to protect scenic open space, among other purposes, from development while keeping the ownership, management, and use of the property private. Confiscating previously dedicated open space for the purpose of development potentially sets a new standard of practice in Summit County and beyond. What would prevent the county from “setting aside” additional parcels of open space with conservation easements, with the intent of using the parcels for the greater “public good” in the future? Faith in the county’s commitment to, “protecting and managing open space, trails, and trailheads to preserve and maintain Summit County’s rural mountain character, unique natural areas and high quality of life for residents and visitors,” could come into question every time the county expresses interest in designating new open space in the county.

For these reasons, we urge the county to reconsider their decision to move forward with condemnation of the Feister Preserve for development.

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