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[at-l] Re: Eminent Domain

>From: jplynch@crosslink.net (James P. "Jim" Lynch)
> ...the ATC and Forest Service were abusive and unfair.
>Sort of a long post; any comments from an ATC official?  Sort of takes the
>ATC to task.  As a member of the ATC, sort of rankles this hiker.
ATC staff has been very aggressive on Killington and Saddleback.
Whether that is abusive or unfair probably depends on which side of
the fence you you are sitting on.  Note: Killington and Saddleback are
big boys with the resources to defend themselves.  That by its very
nature leads to a more contentious process.

To a large extent ATC staff is not very involved in the details on the
smaller cases, the Feds againts mom and pop small landowner.  As I
said in a previous post, our local ATC management committee is
involved in these small cases and we care. We work very hard to be fair
but also will not take any crap from scam artists. Yes we have one
of those, the tax accessor of a local town borders on NPS land. He
deliberately went though the process of subdividing his land to inflate
the price.  Note - this is not an unwilling seller case; just someone
trying to maximize profits.

Bottom line - if fairness is important to you - get involved.  You can
make a difference.

In all fairness to NPS and USFS, they are just following the letter of
the law and their interpretation of the congressional mandate.  They
are also under considerable time pressure as the funding will not last
forever and each year of delay raises the prices they have to pay for
land.  In recent transactions in our area, Dutchess and Putnam Co.
NY, we paid $20,000 per acre at one end and $2000 per acre at the
other, less than 40 trail miles apart.  From the rate of growth, I
would wager that the $2000 piece will be $5-10,000 within a few years.

It is also worth looking at the viewshed issues from a different point
of view, namely current adjacent landowners.  Lots of them bought
their property because of the rural characteristics and the general
scenic nature of the area.  We are in fact helping them if we slow
down development and preserve existing views.  The views we get from
the trail are not unrelated to the views they get driving on the local
roads. So it helps to have someone with backbone and principles that
are broader than the individual interests of a single land owner.  The
local landowners have a hard time controlling one renegade who wants
to make a big profit by subdividing.

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