Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Broadmoor land swap deal changes

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 3:05 PM

click to enlarge Strawberry Fields open space. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Strawberry Fields open space.

The controversial deal to swap city land for Broadmoor land took a new turn on Wednesday with the revelation that a new deal has been proposed for the city giving the resort the city's 189.5-acre Strawberry Fields open space.

The change is spelled out pretty well in this message from City Councilor Keith King to a constituent:
From what I have gathered, the controversial piece of this exchange is the property is a 189.5 acre parcel which is home to Strawberry Fields. Originally, it was agreed to maintain the park zoning if this property was acquired. There was concern that zoning can get changed so it has been agreed to place park zoning as a deed restriction. There was some public concern that, although difficult to change, deed restrictions can be changed. The Palmer Land Trust suggested that small parcel be identified for potential picnic grounds or stables and the remaining acreage would be placed in the conservation easement, which will assure park zoning and open space in perpetuity. The Broadmoor is good with this and it demonstrates to the public what their intentions are. It has discussed this with Richard Skorman, a community leader who was vocally opposed to the deal and he feels that this is something that other current opponents can support.

Initially, it was discussed about ongoing public access through the property via the newly created Chamberlain Trail. Since then, the Broadmoor has added the public will have access to the remainder of the property and any other trails that would potentially be developed. This would include mountain biking access on the trails as well, and this will be reflected in the conservation easement. The Broadmoor does not want to develop motor bike racing tracks which would damage the property and be disruptive.

These announcements will be made at this at the next public meeting, which is February 24, at Gold Hill Elementary School, between 6 and 8pm.

By making these compromises and assurances for a conversation easement, continued public access, the development of and maintenance of trails, and fire mitigation and cleanup of the property, it becomes a public gain.

Keith King
The comment that Richard Skorman supports the change isn't exactly right, so we asked Skorman about that. He provided us with his written comments made to several people who are opposed to the swap.
There is nothing new here. It's what I have been telling people all along. If they do a one acre picnic pavillion at the bottom of the field near the road and the public has access to the remaining 188.5 acres including the majority of the meadow, then there are several people who oppose the trade in its current form that have told me they will support it, including the majority of the decision makers I have talked to. Keith is right about that, although I haven't talked to him at all.

I'm philosophically against them owing it as a "bad precedent" and would hope that if there is a way to stop this deal first. But if they will allow almost full public access and do everything they say they are going to do to improve the land and keep it in a Conservation Easement for perpetuity, then I am almost certain there is nothing we can do short of discovering endangered species or rare archeology to win this. If that happens, I would hope we could work out a lease with strong conditions instead of a sale. I would love to be invited to be at the table if that happens. The devil is in the details. I still think they are going to have a larger footprint and horses taking over the entire meadow, but may be wrong.

Listen, I am happy to express opinions for myself and not the rest of the group. Just let me know. It seems that many in your group will never support the Broadmoor using one inch of Strawberry Fields under any conditions. I'm probably not one of them. I want what's best for the public. Hope this all makes sense. You are welcome to pass this along to others. And it won't hurt my feelings if you don't want me representing you and others anymore, although I really haven't done much except ask for a delay, yet.

Richard Skorman
Have you say at a public meeting that starts at 6 p.m. today at Gold Camp Elementary, 1805 Preserve Dr.

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