A model for conservancy | AspenTimes.com

A model for conservancy

Dear Editor:As the initial executive director of the Roaring Fork Conservancy and a former 20-year resident of the valley, I feel it is important to set the record straight regarding the presentation of inaccurate information. On Oct. 26, a letter to the editor by Auden Schendler ran in The Aspen Times opposing the Roaring Fork Club development. In it, he stated “Remember, they (referring to the Roaring Fork Club partners) were originally FORCED to take environmental measures like creating the Roaring Fork Conservancy.” For the record, the Roaring Fork Club partners were not FORCED to create the Roaring Fork Conservancy. The developers brought forth an idea, modeled after their own program created in 1990 for Spring Island in South Carolina. Jim Chaffin and Jim Light created a self-imposed real estate transfer assessment, which provided initial seed money for the Spring Island Trust. And by recording deed covenants on all the properties, all individuals who purchased property also agree to pay this RETA when reselling their property. Together with David Wilhelm, Chaffin and Light brought this idea to the Basalt Town Council as a model to use and create seed money for the Roaring Fork Conservancy and other projects in the town that would benefit the community. Chris Meyers, former town of Basalt trustee, took the initiative to visit Spring Island in South Carolina, liked the commitments of the partners to conservation-based development and the trust, and returned advocating that their idea be implemented immediately. Although the Roaring Fork Club had not been annexed or approved, and the properties had not sold when the town of Basalt trustees asked the Roaring Fork Club to begin providing funding for this project. The partners agreed, and initial funding was secured.Whether or not one agrees with a development project is an individual decision, and we all certainly have the right to express our views. However, let’s get the facts straight and give credit where it is due when people bring forth positive ideas and funding that will help a community. Thank you, Roaring Fork Club partners, for creating seed money for the Roaring Fork Conservancy and the ongoing transfer assessment. Without such an organization, I could give you a list a mile long of environmental benefits that would have never happened in this valley. Here is wishing for community action with knowledge and collaboration.Jeanne M. BeaudryDenver