Friday, August 31, 2012

FOIA request for VWC-DEIS Land Appraisal documents

Here's one of the reasons I keep doing all this.  No else seems to be!  And this is the one month it makes a difference.  Or if they are doing something they're keeping it secret.  Why?  When these days and weeks right now is the time for the public to be made aware.

Incidentally, I'm no real estate person, I don't have the knowledge to look at these documents with an intelligent eye.  So I'll be making these documents public when they arrive and I hope that someone will be able to make some use of them.

[email: citizenschallenge{at}gmail]

We only have September to file official comments regarding the VWC-DEIS . . .
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Mike Blakeman Rio Grande Nat'l Forest Public Affairs Officer
and Tom Malecek Divide District Ranger, 

I was shocked yesterday, to hear that no one FOIA'ed the Land Appraisal documents. 
It seems to me ColoradoWild or the "Friends of Wolf Creek" would have been all over that on day one.  No wonder some folks are convinced the fix is in.  

In any event, I would like to see copies of the Appraisal documents for VWC-DEIS #35945.
In particular, I am curious how equating 177.8 acres of nearly impossible to develop land for 204.4 acres of Prime Grade "A" highway accessible development real estate - was justified.


Peter Miesler

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Actually, in a non-professional way I know the gist of it.  Basically, their base assumption was that wetlands is extremely precious land.  Which I don't question.  Although let's be fair, to Mr. Red McCombs Alberta Park "wetlands" have been nothing but a nightmare.  

A liability which is conveniently not addressed in the VWC-DEIS.  Why not?

OK, so the VWC-DEIS took the position that they would value this land from a wildland's specialist's perspective, given that such was "in the best interest of the American people."
Conveniently for the developer, who couldn't care less about the essence and important of wetlands.  
Quite the contrary, it has been nothing but a liability and nightmare to their development plans.

Why isn't the VWC-DEIS required to also do an appraisal from the standpoint of developer's interests?  Lets look at how those two pieces of developable real estate stack up to each other.

What is the official justification for that choice, I can't seem to find it in the VWC-DEIS.

Oh a personal note, going through "3.7 Wetlands and Waters" section of the Scope of Analysis it seemed like a bunch of lists that did a great job of describing every feature, but said nothing in the end.

For a little better appreciate of what is going on around here you need to look at the maps.

Figure 2.4-1.  Alternative 2. Land Exchange
Low Density Development Concept Legend
(page 483 VWC-DEIS)


Figure 2.4-3.  Entry and Ski Area Access Roads
Alternative 2. Land Exchange
Moderate & Maximum Density Development Concepts
(page 485 VWC-DEIS)

I still haven't figured out how to get these images posted here, but I'm working on it.

In any event, the VWC-DEIS is equating 177.8 acres of nearly impossible to develop land with 204.4 acres of Prime Grade "A" highway accessible development real estate - as equal in "value"

Can someone with financial real estate expertise 
tackle this slight of hand?
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9/29/12 update

It turns out that the value of the wetlands and their productive biological functions didn't enter into the appraisal at all.  
Since the appraisers don't see anything there but "vacant land" in need of development.

I'm still trying to figure out how the slight of hand of valuing the highway frontage property below the land that is more distant is accomplished.

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Dear Friends of Alberta Park and Wolf Creek, 
we have this one moment to tell the Rio Grande Forest Service and the US Department of Agriculture's powers-that-be what a destructive boondoggle this luxury Village at 10,500± elevation would be.

But, they'll never listen to you, if you don't contact them!
Here's where to do that, but you need to do it now, September:

Commenting on This Project
The Forest Service values public input. Comments received, including respondents’ names and addresses, will become part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the agency with the ability to provide you with project updates. The Forest Service wishes to provide you with as many opportunities as possible to learn about our activities.

Official Deadline for comments has been extended to: 10/11/2012. 


  1. Monday, September 17th and still no word on my FOIA request.

  2. I just received an email from the always helpful Mike Blakeman, information officer for the Rio Grande National Forest.

    It seems that the Forest Service sent out the information by mail, rather than email and an attachment - and since I won't be back in Colorado until early October guess I won't be posting anything here before the end of the comment period.


  3. I did receive the FOIA requested Appraisal a couple days ago, but considering the late date and the cover letter I didn't do anything with it and neglected to update this thread. Considering the extension I figured I should take care of that.

    The Appraisal was accompanied by some stern warnings. Here’s an except from the cover letter.

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    “My decision to release the aforementioned documents is discretionary. I caution your use of the data contained in these documents. The information is for use by you, individually, and may not be disseminated further without my permission in writing. Furthermore the appraisal reports limit distribution within item 6 of the Assumptions and Limiting conditions:

    "Possession of this report or any copy does not carry with it the right of publication, nor may it be used for any other purpose than the stated intended use. I knowledge that all appraisal reports submitted to the Forest Service for review become the property of the United States of America, and may be used for any legal and proper purpose.”
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    The review report incorporated by reference, all assumptions, and limiting conditions of the appraisal report. Its further distribution is also restricted.”

    Acting Director, Physical Resources

  4. Having said that, as mentioned in the post I have no real estate or legal background, so am not in a position to render a serious appraisal or The Appraisal anyways.

    I do know that a few others have also received copies of this information - and I invite them to contact me at citizenschallenge at gmail
    since I would love to post something about the Appraisal from someone who can offer a learned opinion.

    thank you