by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel
If I told you to go jump in a lake, you probably wouldn’t. You would know I didn’t actually want you to go jump in an actual lake. But if I took up a collection, and offered you money to go jump in a lake, you might. What if you did, then came to collect, only to be told we didn’t really mean it, and wouldn’t pay — after you had already done what we promised to pay for? Unfair?
In the 1990s, Gov. Roy Romer hosted a series of “smart growth” roundtables, in which I participated, representing the Western Slope through Club 20. I later served on Gov. Bill Owens’ Commission on Saving Farms, Ranches, and Open Space, another approach to Colorado’s urban sprawl problem. Both processes were successful, implementing new policies to alter the economics of land development.
The same discussion took place across America, with Colorado leading the way, especially pioneering creative uses of “conservation easements.” There are thousands of such easements now, all over America.