Two Creeks residents win court decision
The Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled in favor of 51 residents of Snowmass Village’s Two Creeks neighborhood, giving them a victory in a bitter land-use fight with the Snowmass Land Co.The company wants to build 17 condominiums on 20 acres of open space near the defendants’ homes. Residents, including about 15 who bought their homes from the land company, contend that officials promised them the site would remain undeveloped.”The open space was one of the main pitch points for buying for all these people,” said Lance Cot an Aspen attorney who represented the homeowners. “It was a big deal in terms of their enjoyment of the whole Two Creeks experience.”The open space, which has trails for bicyclists, hikers and equestrians, provides a wilderness experience “unlike any other development in Aspen or Snowmass,” Cot said in describing the sales pitch. The land in dispute is between the homes and the Two Creeks chairlift.The president of the Two Creeks homeowners association, Jim Rifkin, was ecstatic upon learning the news, Cot said. The company’s attorney, Jim Johnson of Denver, said he had not yet briefed his client on the decision and declined to comment. He didn’t know whether the land firm would appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. Calls to the company went unanswered Thursday.Cot said the company could also ask the appeals court to reconsider its decision.Before his death last month, Judge T. Peter Craven of the 9th Judicial District had ruled that the company did not properly reserve the right to build the condominiums during the administrative plat process. The appeals court agreed with Craven.The land company “contends that the current version of [a state law] eliminates the need to file a map or plat if all of the information required by that section is contained in the declaration,” the court decision said. “According to SLC, it did not matter whether it failed to label the plat because a plat was not required. We disagree.”The company denies promising residents that the land would always remain open space, Cot said.Homeowners are “very happy that this now looks like it’s going to be preserved forever, unless the Supreme Court allows them to build 17 townhomes there,” he said.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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