Letter to the editor: Summit County owns lots of land, so why Fiester Preserve? | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Summit County owns lots of land, so why Fiester Preserve?

Ken Gansmann

Why are the county manager and two of the county commissioners in such a hurry to condemn the Fiester Preserve to build senior and/or workforce housing? Is this really needed? Where is their needs assessment documentation and numbers for these projects? Why was there no public process input?

This sets a terrible precedent.

Before delving further into this letter, Summit Daily News readers should be aware of the following two things:

1. The city of Denver tried this same nonsense at the Park Hill Golf Course in Denver, but Gov. Jared Polis signed HB 19-1264 (now Title 38-30.5-0700 Colorado Revised Statute) on June 30, 2019, which prohibits Denver and other entities (e.g. Summit County) from negating a conservation easement/land trusts.

2. The Summit Board of County Commissioners owns over 400 properties comprising 8,400+ acres here. These properties are exempted from paying real estate taxes.

One of the above noted county commissioners made these statements to questions asked:

  • Insists there is no other land available for senior/workforce housing in Summit County.
  • Doesn’t feel the Fiester Preserve is a valuable conservation easement.
  • They prefer to do a land “amendment” or “trade” than fight Colorado House Bill 19-1964.
  • They will have to go through a “condemnation process” in court and that is an “ugly” process.
  • If they asked the public if the Fiester conservation easement should be extinguished, it would say no.

They will listen to public comment “after” they get their way. Have you heard this before?

We all make mistakes. It is time for the county manager and those two county commissioners to admit their mistake, leave the Fiester Preserve remain an easement and look for other land they own to accommodate their perceived need.

I recommend concerned residents attend future Summit County Housing Authority meetings.

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