ASPEN - Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday will take up final action on a proposed agreement with landowners Leslie and Abigail Wexner that would give the county's blessing to a proposed land exchange involving the couple and the Bureau of Land Management.
The discussion and a public hearing are scheduled at 10:30 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room at the Plaza 1 building.
The agreement is separate from the proposed land swap but secures the county's support for the trade, which is under consideration by the Bureau of Land Management. Last month, commissioners endorsed the deal on a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Michael Owsley dissenting.
Through the negotiated agreement with the county, the Wexners will place a conservation easement on about 370 acres at their ranch that have been identified as important winter habitat for elk and bighorn sheep; relinquish development rights for 10 single-family homes representing about 50,000 square feet of buildings; move a planned indoor riding arena to a spot less visible from the Crystal River Valley; and provide as much as $700,000 for property acquisition and construction of a trail along part of Prince Creek Road. The trail would connect to a parcel that is among the properties in play with the proposed land exchange.
Through the land swap, the Wexners hope to acquire about 1,200 acres of Bureau of Land Management property on the flank of Mount Sopris outside Carbondale. The land would consolidate their Two Shoes Ranch holdings, creating about 5,600 acres of private property. They have offered to turn over to the BLM the 557-acre Sutey Ranch north of Carbondale and adjacent to the Red Hill Recreation Area, plus a 112-acre piece along Prince Creek Road near Carbondale that is used by mountain bikers and others to access the Crown, a popular recreation area. Finally, the BLM would receive $1.1 million to develop a management plan for the properties it acquires and for their long-term management.