Pitkin County explains its stand on land swap in l etter that will go to congressional delegation…Leslie and Abigail Wexner, of the Victoria Secret chain, have proposed trading the 520-acre Sutey Ranch north of Carbondale, in Garfield County, to the Bureau of Land Management in exchange for 1,268 acres of BLM land abutting their Two Shoes Ranch, located on the north flank of Mount Sopris, in Pitkin County. Three pieces of land in Eagle County would also be folded into the deal.

ASPEN PITKIN COUNTY REAL ESTATE — Pitkin County commissioners endorsed a letter Tuesday outlining their position on a controversial land swap over the objections of Commissioner Jack Hatfield, who said he may compose his own letter on the topic.The letter, to be sent to Colorado’s congressional delegates, has been a month in the making, and comes in response to a citizen letter to the delegation that advocates letting the exchange proceed despite Pitkin County government’s opposition….Drafted by Open Space and Trails Director Dale Will at the commissioners’ behest, was whittled down from a previous, lengthier version. It outlines the parameters of the proposed exchange and explains the county’s qualms with the federal appraisal process used for congressionally approved swaps — one that the county contends favors the Wexners and leaves taxpayers in the dark as to the real value of the land that the Wexners would obtain. “As proposed, the Wexner exchange would amass the largest contiguous private acreage in Pitkin County,” the letter says. “Such ‘trophy ranches’ are known to be extraordinarily valuable, especially in certain resort areas such as our own. We believe the public should know what the private benefit of this exchange will be.”The letter also describes other avenues to effect the swap.
By Janet Urquhart, August 19, 2010 Aspen Times

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