Guest Post by Mara Zebest
Andy and Ceil Barrie have been battling the Summit County commissioners who decided to seize the Barrie’s property. Similar to the Bundy Ranch battle in recent news, these government officials give lame excuses to justify their unconstitutional property grabs. This constant overreach at the hands of bureaucracies are an assault against American taxpayers, along with an assault against our constitutional rights in the pursuit of happiness (granted to us by our Creator).
Wouldn’t it be nice if the government put as much energy—not to mention the use of taxpayer funds—into protecting the US border?
Fox News reports the following:
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – “They’re spending us to death,” said landowner Andy Barrie.
He is not talking about property taxes, inflation or even the cost of skiing in glitzy ski country. Rather, he’s talking about the legal fight he and his wife have been waging to save their pristine piece of mountain property — with breathtaking views of Colorado’s high country — from being taken over by the county through eminent domain.
Their battle is a unique test of private property rights. [...]
The isolated parcel is surrounded by 2.2 million acres of White River National Forest, and is essentially an island of private property. It includes an old mining cabin, an outhouse and a shuttered gold mine. The area is popular with hikers.
The couple’s trouble started when the U.S. Forest Service took them to task for using a utility vehicle to drive from their main residence to their cabin. They say they never went off-road, and petitioned for the path to be declared a county road.
The county, though, responded by trying to buy the Barries’ higher-elevation property in order to protect and preserve it as open space. The Barries, who never had any plans to develop it, did not want to sell.
That’s when the county pulled their trump card.
Unbeknownst to the Barries, the previous owner had remodeled the cabin without permits. So Summit County commissioners voted to condemn the property for wiring and plumbing (even though the cabin has none) and filed for eminent domain.
“I understand that we are all trying to save these beautiful mountains and make them accessible to everyone, but you know that property has been sitting there since President Garfield signed our land patent, and we’re not doing anything bad there,” Ceil Barrie said.
Last week, the two sides participated in required, formal mediation with a judge. Summit County, which refused interview requests, released a statement saying: “Both parties engaged in productive negotiations in pursuit of a voluntary settlement regarding the purchase. … We are optimistic that a resolution will be reached within a matter of weeks, if not days.”
The Barries’ hopes are dimming. Asked if recent mediation pointed to a way for the Barries to keep the land in the family name and avoid eminent domain, Andy Barrie responded flatly, “No, they’re taking it.” [...]
Read more here.
Contact information for the Summit County Commissioners HERE.