Routt County Officials from the Purchase of Development Rights program are looking at buying the building rights of another property in the county.
Routt County Commissioners will meet with PDR Citizens Advisory Board President Carl Vail in executive session Monday at 8:30 a.m. to decide if the property meets the proper qualifications for PDR funds. The meeting is the result of the property owner being interested in the county buying the building rights on the land.
Officials are remaining tight-lipped about the deal until they decide if the property is appropriate for PDR funds, which are county property tax revenues used to preserve open space.
"The commissioners review the process and then decide if we should go to tier two," Vail said.
In this phase of the game, when a property owner approaches the county about selling the building rights on land, the deal is in "tier one." If the commissioners approve the deal, then they'll go into "tier two" of the process, which is the final phase. At that time, the officials will give details about the deal, Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.
"Basically, we're willing to enter into negotiations," Ellison said of the current status of the deal.
Vail and Ellison would not give specifics about the size of the property, where it is or how much money could come out of the PDR fund because of a confidentiality agreement with the landowner.
"It's to my understanding that the land butts up to Bureau of Land Management land or Forest Service land," Ellison said.
Vail said, "It's a fairly small project."
The PDR program uses property tax revenues to buy building rights on private land to preserve open spaces. A conservation easement is put on the land, limiting the number of structures that can be built there. Landowners usually donate a portion of the building rights in the deal.
Local ranchers have benefited from selling building rights. The easement devalues the land so inheritance taxes aren't as high and it gives agriculture producers another way to profit from the land without selling out to developers.
In 1996, voters in Routt County narrowly passed a one mill increase on property taxes to dedicate to the PDR program. That means one cent for every residential property tax dollar and three cents for every commercial property tax dollar goes to the PDR fund.
In 1997, the first year the program collected the tax money, $350,000 was put into the fund. With the increase in assessed value of the county, the fund now generates $500,000 a year.
The program most recently committed $500,000 to help preserve 1,590 acres of the Warren Ranch, which is off Routt County Road 129. That deal was finalized in November.
Other projects PDR has had a financial hand in are the Stanko Ranch for 135 acres of land, the Robinson Ranch for 114 acres and the Wilhelm Ranch for 325 acres. Each one of the those transactions was finalized this year.
The PDR tax will end in 2007. Vail said in November that voters will most likely see the plan again on the ballot in 2006.
To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail email@example.com