Paying Big Bucks in Colorado – No Sheep

The Town of Vail wants to protect its bighorn sheep.  It seems two were recently struck by vehicles. Meanwhile, the toney Vail resort wants to build workforce housing on land that it owns in East Vail, but the Town is not in favor.

What to do?  Well, condemn the 23 acres to prevent any development.  This is not the first ski resort condemnation.  Telluride stopped development.  Telluride condemned 572 acres to block development of proposed luxury homes.  The Town offered the developer $26 million.  The developer wanted $51 million.  A jury awarded $50 million based on the land’s highest and best use.

The parcel in Vail will certainly be valued on its highest and best use as it must.  According to an article in the Colorado Sun, the Vail parcel could have been developed into 10 to 15 duplex lots with as many as 30 homes with current market value of as much as $4 million each.

You really have to love bighorn sheep because this is going to be a very expensive taking.

It is the bedrock principle of eminent domain that “[t]he measure of damages in a condemnation case must reflect the fair market value of the property in its highest and best use on the date of the taking regardless of whether the property is being put to such use at the time.”  Matter of 73 Equity Corp. v New York State Urban Dev. Corp., 142 AD3d 1087 (2d Dept 2016).


Posted in Bighorn Sheep, Highest and Best Use, Vail
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