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Open Space seeks land on Lookout Mountain

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By Vicky Gits

Another 24 acres have been targeted for inclusion in Jefferson County’s substantial open space holdings in the area around Colorow Road and the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve, which has 110 acres.

At a regular meeting of the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee on April 2, board members voted 8-0 to recommend that the county commissioners approve purchasing the McLeod property for $485,000.

The Open Space Advisory Commission is a volunteer board that makes recommendations, but the county commissioners make the final decision.

The property, which has been owned by the McLeod family since the 1950s, is zoned mountain residential but has never been developed. There is no public water or sewer available, although a well would be feasible. Several electrical power transmission towers are also on the parcel.

Anna McLeod purchased the land with the intent of building a home there. Over the years, the family used the property for hiking and picnicking. Anna’s three children considered developing the four lots on the west side but decided they would prefer to see it protected as open space and like the idea that they could continue to enjoy it, according to Tawnya Ernst, the land acquisition specialist.

The purchase price was negotiated in the last three months based on the appraised value.

The land is bordered on the east by Colorow Road and the Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve open space. Mostly covered by trees, it is surrounded on the other three sides by residential development.

“The property has natural resource value as a wildlife corridor through the northern third of the property. It provides a land buffer between the residential development and the Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve. It also has scenic views … in that it lies within the Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway corridor,” said Ralph Schell, director of Open Space.

Board member John Litz also cited the wildlife corridor as the most important aspect of the acquisition.

“Preserving wildlife corridors was a significant part of our thoughts in 1972 when PLAN Jeffco conceived of the Open Space initiative,” Litz said.

The per-acre price compares favorable to the price paid for Blair Ranch in 2003, or $15,000 per acre, assuming 5 percent price appreciation per year, Litz notes. Being adjacent to open space also can increase land values. 

Southwest Jeffco and Golden

In other action, the board approved recommending acceptance of the donation of a 2,500-square-foot parcel south of Bowles Avenue, west of C-470 and adjacent to the Stafford Hogback property. The owner is Dakota Hogback LLC. The land provides connection between an existing trail easement and Open Space property.

The board approved an easement allowing the National Renewable Energy Laboratory/U.S. Department of Energy to obtain an easement to construct a permanent drainage swale and relocate a storm-water discharge point on 0.3 acres in the northern portion of Pleasant View Community Park.