Telluride’s Tale of Eminent Domain, Home Rule and Retroactivity

“Telluride is an upscale ski town located at the closed end of a box canyon in southwestern Colorado. In 2000, the town began to set aside twenty percent of annual revenue in a fund to acquire private land be- tween the town boundary and the canyon’s mouth, the area known as the Valley Floor.1 The landowner was determined to develop the property commercially; town residents were equally determined to acquire it for parks, recreation, and open space. The principal landowner was the San Miguel Valley Corporation.2 Its main owner is billionaire Neal Blue, CEO of General Atomics Corporation of San Diego, a major defense contractor.3 Blue is a Denver native whose parents were successful in- vestors and financiers. His mother, a state treasurer and University of Colorado Regent, is honored in a stained glass window in the State Capi- tol.4 Neal Blue bought the Valley Floor in 1983 for a reported six to seven million dollars.5 General Atomics is best known as maker of the Predator drone aircraft.6 A Fortune magazine article about Blue said that his take-no-prisoners style in business gave him the personal nickname of “The Predator.”7”

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Collins, Richard B. 2009