Summit County open space group takes on new role |

Summit County open space group takes on new role

Bob Berwyn
Summit County correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado – Several members of the county’s open space advisory council will take on an additional role to help identify potential parcels of land for affordable-workforce housing.

The county commissioners approached the open space group last month, asking members to use their expertise in land acquisition to help search for land that could be suitable for housing projects. The council didn’t unanimously support the concept, but after some debate, the group formed a committee to take on the job.

Dissenting members said the council’s successful open space mission could be diluted by mixing the two roles, but the commissioners did not want to have two separate advisory groups potentially in conflict.

“Five of us are wearing two hats right now,” said open space Councilman Russ Camp. “There should not be a conflict between open space and affordable housing,” he said, explaining that both goals are important for the county.

Camp said the committee is still trying to put together a method of looking at land without having it conflict with the overall group’s open space advisory role.

The plan is to be ready when a new revenue stream for land acquisition kicks in next year.

“When 5A got passed, it created a funding source for affordable housing and for buying land for other public purposes,” Camp said, referring to a ballot measure approved by voters last November.

“The commissioners wanted to take advantage of the land expertise on the council and widen its scope to include workforce housing,” Councilman Art Girten said. “It’s no secret that [the open space board] has been pretty darn successful. The BOCC said, you guys are pretty good at what you do. We don’t want to have two committees opposing each other.”

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