Drostes reject Snowmass offer for open space | AspenTimes.com

Drostes reject Snowmass offer for open space

“Thanks, but no thanks” was Peter Droste’s response yesterday to Snowmass Village’s latest attempt to preserve part of the Droste family ranch at the entrance to town.

Negotiations between Droste and the Town Council have already fallen apart once this year, and the gulf between the two sides once again appears impassable.

“It’s as if I said I want to sell my car and they said `No, we’re not going to buy your car but we will buy your house – for less money,’ ” said Droste, representing his family’s interests.

On Monday, the Town Council rejected the Drostes’ offer to sell the town a conservation easement on 500 acres in the Brush Creek Valley for $7.5 million. The council forwarded a verbal counter offer to the Droste family that same evening.

The specifics of the counter offer were not made public, but Peter Droste made it clear Tuesday that his family found the terms wholly unacceptable.

“We’re not going to give the property away. That’s what they want and we can’t do it,” he said.

This latest round of talks constitutes a resurrected effort to preserve at least a portion of the Droste ranch after talks broke down in April over an outright purchase by the town of the entire 940-acre property.

While both sides seem to share a common goal of saving at least part of the ranch from development as 35-acre homesteads, a fundamental disagreement on the property’s worth has repeatedly thwarted efforts to forge a mutually acceptable deal.

“It would appear a significant difference of opinion exists on the value of the property and that the difference is unreconcilable,” said Mayor T. Michael Manchester. “If there was a reasonable opportunity, from a cost and value standpoint, to reduce or eliminate the lot splitting, we’re interested. We’ve always been interested. The question is, who defines what’s reasonable?”

According to Manchester, $7.5 million for a conservation easement preserving 500 acres of the valley floor was “unreasonable with the conditions attached.”

At this point, either the town or the Drostes would have to submit an amended offer to the town’s most recent proposal in order for negotiations to continue.

Neither side was willing to commit to further efforts yesterday.

“To me this has been an exercise in frustration and futility,” Droste said.

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