Vote yes on Ref. 2E | AspenTimes.com

Vote yes on Ref. 2E

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you and the Snowmass Village community to express my reasons for voting for Referendum 2E, for the acquisition of 742 acres of the Droste property. This property is strategically located at the entrance to Snowmass Village and has served as a “forever” reminder of the open lands we value as a community. This property will serve as the hub of a regional open space system that will link Snowmass Village with Aspen (Cozy Point Ranch) and Pitkin County (Seven Star), and will provide an unprecedented opportunity to significantly expand our open lands and trail system for the entire upper valley.

Whether you are a resident who drives Brush Creek Road on a daily basis or a visitor who has arrived for the first time, the rural beauty, scale and diversity of landscape this property offers takes your breath away – we can’t afford to let it get away.

I had the opportunity to view the property last month (thanks to John Henschel, managing partner of Blazing Adventures, who is providing vehicles and professional drivers so residents get the chance to see the property themselves), and I took so many pictures because every turn offered a new perspective, a new view that I wanted to capture. For those who aren’t able to take the trip to the top, I will offer my photos for review. Just e-mail me at julie@elkmountainsplanning.com and I will be happy to forward them to you. The fall color was especially spectacular that day, and for most of us, this is one of the reasons we call Snowmass Village “home.”

As a land-use planner and landscape designer involved in land development and preservation for more than 30 years, this opportunity for land stewardship is clearly “one-of-a-kind.” There are rare plants and important wildlife habitats that will be preserved, but only if we can acquire the property and eliminate the current development rights the Droste family has to develop up to nine homes and associated structures on this property. I believe even one house up there will forever change our entrance, and passing Referendum 2E will allow the funding necessary to ensure this land will remain open forever.

During this time of economic belt-tightening, the Snowmass Village Town Council has found an ingenious way for us to comfortably vote “yes” on 2E. Because 2E proposes to be funded through an extension of an expiring bond issue (it was originally passed to fund the public works facilities and will otherwise sunset this year), residents won’t see an increase in their tax bills! As proposed, only $34 per $1 million of assessed value will go toward this acquisition. For a resident living in a home appraised at $300,000, that’s about $11, or what we like to call a “six-pack tax.” As residents and community members who will benefit most from this acquisition (for future trails, open space, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities), I think we can all afford to vote “yes” to save our entrance now!

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As 13-year resident of Snowmass Village, I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our village to step up and preserve this entrance to Snowmass Village for future generations to enjoy forever. Please join me in voting on Nov. 2, and please vote to preserve our village’s character, natural beauty and entrance along Brush Creek Road. Your kids and grandkids will forever be thankful that you did. Please vote “yes” on 2E!

Julie Ann Woods

Snowmass Village

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