Krabloonik land deal gets town OK | AspenTimes.com

Krabloonik land deal gets town OK

Madeleine Osberger
Special to The Aspen Times

Krabloonik was offered a lifeline this week when the Snowmass Village council agreed to a complex three-way land swap intended to give the dog-sled operation and restaurant a permanent, affordable home.

The deal involves Krabloonik owner Dan MacEachen, the town and the Divide Homeowners Association.

?After all this time we?re finally ready to move forward,? said MacEachen?s attorney David Myler.

The exchange, which has been months in the making, calls for the town to essentially swap a parking lot for the nearby Krabloonik property, which is owned by MacEachen.

MacEachen would be allowed to sell the parking lot site and use the proceeds to pay off the large mortgage on the Krabloonik land. He then would be offered a long-term, low-cost lease on the Krabloonik site.

The Krabloonik property would be expanded to include a portion of a neighboring lot owned by the Divide Homeowners Association. The remainder of that lot ? along with the Krabloonik lot ? would carry a protective covenant that in effect restricts the use of the lots ?for the benefit of the Divide.?

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The town would like to see a parking lot, most likely paid for by MacEachen, built on the new lot.

The exchange is appealing to Snowmass in that the town essentially doesn?t pay for anything, nor give anything away, and is able to help protect Krabloonik, which it considers an important amenity.

In March of this year, the council rejected a different three-way land swap on the basis that it amounted to a giveaway of valuable town-owned land.

With this agreement, the town would enter into a 20-year lease with MacEachen, who would pay only $10 per year in rent. After a decade, he would be offered the opportunity to buy back the land, as long as he continues to operate Krabloonik for the next 10 years.

MacEachen enjoyed a similar killer deal on rent from Jim Chaffin and Jim Light between 1974 ? the year Stuart Mace shut down his Toklat dog-sled operation and gave MacEachen 55 dogs ? and 1999, the year he paid Chaffin and Light $1.4 million for the property. Since purchasing the property, MacEachen has struggled to make his mortgage payments.

?I spent way beyond what I could afford. But what else could I do?? he told the Snowmass Sun earlier this year.

Councilman Arnie Mordkin expressed concern that the public wasn?t well-informed on the complicated deal because the land negotiations were conducted this summer during executive sessions. Mordkin?s request that the item be tabled until the public had a better grasp of the deal fell upon deaf ears.

The resolution authorizing the exchange agreement passed unanimously, though Councilman Dick Virtue, a Divide homeowner, recused himself from the vote.

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