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Town of Telluride offered $6.150m for the Diamond Ridge lots they purchased for $7.5m……

The story of this debacle continues to grow, and rightfully so. On the postive side, a local group has made two offers to purchase the three lots from the town of Telluride. This should be a no brainer for the town of Telluride and San Miguel County to be able to wash their hands of their dirty dealings that fully lacked transparency with the community.
Local authorities are strongly affirming their commitment to retain ownership of the Diamond Ridge property, rebuffing recent attempts by area residents to purchase it for $6.15 million. Lindsey Mills, Communications Manager for the Town of Telluride, emphasized on January 2nd that there is no intention to sell the site, and no formal discussions have taken place regarding a sales plan.
A collective of local residents made the $6.15 million offer to the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County on December 2nd, given that both entities are joint owners of the 105-acre property. In response, the town and county released a statement on December 20th, stating that it is not financially prudent to consider unsolicited offers for the purchase of public property. They reiterated their commitment as community partners in managing the Diamond Ridge property.
The property is a part of the draft San Miguel County East End Master Plan dated September 21, 2023, and is envisioned as a low-density residential housing area with potential Community Housing zoning. The county’s land use code outlines the purpose of the Community Housing zone, which may allow for 20 units per acre, aimed at accommodating residents living and working within San Miguel County.
A legal challenge arose when a judge deemed the rezoning of the Diamond Ridge parcel as illegal “spot zoning,” contradicting the Telluride Regional Area Master Plan. The court order, dated April 11, 2023, stated that the rezoned area conflicted with the plan’s designation as ‘Low Density Residential Cluster.’
Residents involved in the legal dispute argue that the county and town’s efforts to update the East End Master Plan with Community Housing provisions are an attempt to retroactively legitimize the Diamond Ridge planning.
Nick Farkouh, one of the residents behind the $6.15 million offer, remains actively engaged in raising awareness about the town and county’s handling of the Diamond Ridge planning. Farkouh alleges that the ongoing revision of the East End Master Plan is strategically geared towards advancing the Diamond Ridge project.
Despite collecting approximately 450 signatures on a petition, concerns persist among Farkouh and other residents regarding the county officials’ commitment to allocate funds for the Diamond Ridge property without following proper public processes. A state grant, initially awarded but later revoked in 2023 following the judge’s ruling, adds to suspicions that the county and town may have acted unlawfully in pursuing the project under the guise of addressing housing needs.
At a planning commission meeting on December 14, members refrained from specifying a finalization date for the East End Master Plan. The commission anticipates further discussions on plan amendments at their next meeting on January 24. Planning Commission Member Toby Brown expressed a desire for substantive changes in the draft plan language during the upcoming meeting to enhance understanding of the Community Housing zone.