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Could you describe the Friends of Wolf Creek's position on development at Alberta Park?
In terms of your questions:
1. The lawsuits we have filed and the one we are preparing for is based on NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act).
NEPA analysis is based on process analysis, that is our strongest leverage at this time, because we believe that "the process" has been violated.
Having said that, we are taking this to Federal District Court so we need substantive arguments regarding policy, law CEQ's etc., being violated during the NEPA process.
2. The one question we have not had answered and the Forest Service has avoided it, is how many units can that area actually handle?
What size of development, if any, is the "appropriate size" for that area?
THAT ANALYSIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE.
3. Not only has the question never been answered, but the Forest Service (FS) continues to take the stand that "this is not within our scope of analysis."
Within Forest Service scope of analysis, which they purposely narrowed to "road access" to avoid having to do real analysis of impacts, FS is basically side stepping this big question by saying "this is a private property rights issue and needs to be settled though the PUD process in Mineral County".
4. So, you see what keeps happening, the developers pressure the Forest Service to maintain the narrow scope of analysis because the developers don't want to know what the proper number of units would be, if any. I'm sure they see it as "not good" for marketing this "VWC" vision, in their opinion.
5. To answer your question about the Environmental organizations and our position, the reality is, "since there has never been proper analysis done on impacts to determine what that area could possibly handle, we have to take the position that we don't know the answer, since that analysis has not been done."
6. Yes, we too have researched the idea of having the development closer to existing infrastructure, but Red McCombs insists on doing it next to the Ski Area.
All other, more reasonable concepts are non-negotiable while he is making the decisions.
I hope this background was useful.
- Forest Service Environmental Assessment anticipated 200 residential units
- Deemed “Not in the Public Interest”, denied Feb. 20, 1986
- Opposite decision issued March 6, 1986
- Scenic Easement attached to the property as condition of exchange
- Lift and parking lot approved by Forest Service in 1999
- Decision subject to administrative appeal by Colorado Wild summer 1999
- Appeal settlement agreement: EIS required prior to “commercial” access
- 2,172 units, 222k sq.ft. commercial, 4267 parking spaces, 12 restaurants, hotels, etc.
- Massive project proposal raises serious concerns: water quality, water quantity, wetlands,
traffic, wildlife, economic impacts to existing businesses, employee housing, emergency
services, fiscal impacts to Rio Grande and Archuleta County governments, etc.
- Lobbied to have Mark Rey appointed to head US Forest Service.
- Riders to unrelated legislation introduced by Congressman Tom Delay to grant access to Village
without public review or scrutiny of project’s impacts.
- Documents show McCombs was writing Mineral County Land Use Code
- Oct 2005 – State District Judge Kuenhold throws out Mineral County’s development approval.
- Sept 2006 – State Court of Appeals affirms Kuenhold, Village Plan illegal for lack of access.
- 90%+ of 3,000 Public Comments Opposed to Village Access
- Sept 2005 – Documents show developer/Forest Service collusion, including developer authoring
Forest Service access policies
- March 2006 – Colorado Wild uncovers developer’s influence over Forest Service EIS contractor
- April 2006 – Forest Service Grants Access based on “Bogus” EIS
- September 2006 – Colorado Wild sues Forest Service over faulty EIS
- February 2008 – Colorado Wild, Forest Service, McCombs settle lawsuit and agree to conduct
new and complete EIS before granting access.
- 2008 – Forest Service begins, and then stops new EIS process based on original plan.
- 2009 – McCombs hires democratic lobbyist Michael Dino, Clint Jones to pursue legislative land exchange.
Impact Statement (EIS) through the U.S. Forest Service.
They didn't think the values weren't right. They thought it was inappropriate to break up a landscape that was entirely public to create a chunk of private land right in the middle of it. It was inconsistent with Forest Service policy. ..."
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