With $50.87 million now safely in a court arranged escrow account in
“We have a wire confirmation of $50.87 million,” Town Attorney Kevin Geiger told the Telluride Town Council this week, adding that yes, indeed, he kept the receipt. “You don’t see that every day.”
Geiger was careful to stress in council chambers at its regular session Tuesday, May 15, that the town isn’t yet in possession of the Valley Floor by eminent domain. Though certainly no longer available for sale or development at this time, the spacious gateway to Telluride will remain as it is, fenced and restricted, until further notice.
The hiking, biking and bonfires will have to wait. But for at least the first two, perhaps not too long.
Mayor John Pryor said Thursday that Telluride’s legal representatives, including condemnation attorney Leslie Fields, has been meeting with representatives with the San Miguel Valley Corporation for what he termed “productive conversations … with regards to the access issues.”
He expected an announcement regarding these talks sometime in the next few days.
“Limited access will be in place for the very near future,” the mayor said, adding that the arrangement will be similar to what was possible prior to the property went through the condemnation proceeding.
Pryor said that includes hiking, biking, fishing and biking. Even access to hang gliders and balloons is “being contemplated.” There will be no dogs permitted, nor “big parties,” he added. Camping or parking for festivals will also remain to be prohibited.
Meanwhile, the town will continue to have to wait until the details are worked out for the court’s ruling an awarding possession.
“We are not at the conclusion of the condemnation proceeding,” Geiger said. “We are in a position of going for a rule of possession,” Geiger said, from San Miguel County District Court Judge Charles Greenacre, who will issue a “rule of order of possession.”
After that, there will likely be more waiting. Even the timing of when a 570-acre parcel conservation easement can be ratified is up in the air since all must wait until the Colorado Supreme Court rules on the San Miguel Valley Corporation’s appeal of the entire condemnation proceeding, a challenge to Judge Greenacre’s ruling that the so-called “Telluride Amendment” was unconstitutional. That amendment specifically barred a home rule municipality from condemning land outside its boundaries for open space.
Until the town gets an order of possession from the court, hands off, please, said Geiger, while the drama continues to unfold. The last thing the town needs at this stage, he said, are additional Valley Floor legal matters to deal with.
“We are in a delicate stage with this,” Geiger said. “We are requesting a little bit of patience at this time.”
Not that there wasn’t time for just a little more hoopla. On Tuesday council unanimously approved a proclamation, read by Mayor John Pryor, stating “the Town of
Proclaiming all of the members of the VFPP as “local heroes” and all donors anywhere to be “henceforth honored as locals,” the mayor ended the official declaration by quoting the American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead: “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Also, Geiger said, the town’s draft of the document concerning the conservation easement “is in excellent shape” with all of its details concerning water rights, signs and trails and rules regarding the general stewardship of the land in working order.
But at least until a possible announcement comes next week.
“So no trespassing, right?” asked Council Member Bob Saunders.
“That’s right,” Geiger answered.