A dead wrong concept
February 7, 2002
I believe that the current efforts and methodology of the Pitkin County Commissioners to downzone property owned by the pioneering families such as the Fenders, Perrys and others is patently unfair.
The concept of downzoning is dead right but how you are proceeding is DEAD WRONG!
The proposed action places the financial burden of downzoning on these few families, essentially punishing them for having held this land since they and their ancestors first settled here. Downzoning reduces the value of their land without use of condemnation, eminent domain or a formal “taking.”
I believe a better plan would be one in which ALL residents of Pitkin County share in the financial burden of creating open space or placing restrictive covenants on land. Our tax dollars should be used to purchase such land at fair market value.
Once owned by the county, the restrictive covenants can be applied in whatever manner the commissioners deem appropriate. These lands could then be either held as open space or sold to the public.
The process I suggest puts the responsibility for the “greater good” squarely with all citizens who will benefit from the action rather than punish the few landowners with a confiscatory action that devalues their property.
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I am deeply concerned about the procedures used thus far by the County Commissioners, for it seems to be their intent to ramrod this zoning change through without input and thorough debate from the citizenry whom they were elected to represent.
It would be my preference to present these views at the public hearing; however, I am out of the country at that time.