Telluride wins ‘Valley Floor’ battle |

Telluride wins ‘Valley Floor’ battle

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

TELLURIDE, Colo. ” Telluride has won a decade-long legal battle to preserve 572 acres of nearby San Miguel River Valley bottomland from development.

In a strongly worded 6-1 decision released Monday morning, the Colorado Supreme Court declared that Telluride has the constitutional right to condemn land outside its borders, the Telluride Daily Planet reported Monday.

The town has been fighting for 10 years to condemn the land called the “Valley Floor,” a three-mile stretch of pasture and wetlands which lies just downvalley from the town’s border. But landowner Neal Blue argued that a 2004 state law had stripped Telluride of the power to condemn open-space land outside its borders.

The court’s decision, however, refuted Blue’s arguments and overturned that law, which had become known as the Telluride Amendment, the newspaper reported.

In Telluride, the streets rang with the whoops and cheers of residents who’d supported the town’s efforts to condemn the Valley Floor, according to the newspaper, which reported that people hugged on main street, rang cow bells from their cars and celebrated the end of a decade-long saga.

“This has been a long time coming,” Mayor Stu Fraser told a reporter.

The town raised $50 million to meet a court-ordered price tag for the land as part of the condemnation effort. That money will now likely be transferred from an escrow account into Blue’s coffers, and with that, title will be handed over to Telluride.

Blue’s land corporation, the San Miguel Valley Corporation, is not expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the newspaper reported, adding that a town-wide victory party already was in the works.