Droste negotiations have apparently hit snag | AspenTimes.com

Droste negotiations have apparently hit snag

Sarah S. Chung

Negotiations on purchase of the Droste property are apparently so far apart that the parties are even split on whether the talks will continue.

Peter Droste, whose family owns the 940-acre parcel at the entrance to Snowmass Village, indicated in a letter to the Snowmass Sun this week that he is dissatisfied with the appraised value of the land and is ready to subdivide the acreage.

The town of Snowmass Village has spearheaded an effort to purchase or somehow preserve much of the Droste land as open space. The family’s ranch holdings in the Brush Creek Valley form a scenic, largely undeveloped entrance to the resort.

Snowmass Village voters approved a $7.1 million bond to put toward the purchase and the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board has committed another $1 million to the cause. Establishing an appraised value of the property was considered the next big step toward negotiating a purchase price.

The appraisal has been completed, but the value assigned to the land was not made public. In his letter, however, Peter Droste, calls the valuation unacceptable and criticizes the delays in the negotiating process.

“We are tired of the delays. We give up,” he wrote, adding that he will pursue subdivision of the valley into 35-acre lots. The appraisal, he indicates, has placed the value of 13 lots in the valley and foothills at $12 million.

“Everyone wants us to compromise and surrender the value of our property, willingly. No one has EVER come to us with a reasonable offer,” he wrote. “I see no reason to expect this to change. I see no reason to continue.”

Bill Hegberg, the liaison hired by the county, town and open space board to negotiate with the Drostes, would not respond to Droste’s comments.

“I’m not going to negotiate this in the press,” Hegberg said.

Snowmass Village Mayor T. Michael Manchester, however, indicated the two sides are still talking.

“I wish I had more to tell you,” Manchester said. “We’re working to finalize the appraisal and negotiate with Peter to do the purchase and that’s about all we can talk about. If you need more, then it’ll have to come from Bill [Hegberg] – he’s the official spokesman of the group.”

Peter Droste could not be reached yesterday.

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