BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (AP) — A Breckenridge couple have agreed to sell a 10-acre parcel in the Colorado mountains to Summit County for open space after a months-long court battle.
The Summit Daily News reports (http://tinyurl.com/qxfsovw) Andy and Ceil Barrie reached a $115,000 settlement on Friday after court-ordered mediation.
County authorities moved to seize the land by eminent domain in October, saying water quality and wildlife habitat were threatened because the Barries wanted to use a motorized all-terrain vehicle to cross national forest land to get to the property.
Andy Barrie said he thought he had a valid argument but he had already spent about $80,000 in legal fees and couldn't afford more.
"I think we presented some interesting arguments, but I don't have unlimited funds," he said. "They essentially spent me to death."
The property is surrounded by national forest and has a small, unheated cabin with broad vistas of high peaks. The Barries bought it in 2011, along with a home in a subdivision nearby, for $550,000. The deal included a converted ATV they intended to use in the winter to access the isolated parcel over an old mine road.
The U S. Forest Service told the Barries they couldn't use a motorized vehicle on the road, but the couple prepared a court challenge. Barrie has said the road should have been considered a county road, not federal.
Summit County asked to buy the land and said the cabin had been illegally expanded by a previous owner. Andy Barrie said they were negotiating when the county began the eminent domain procedure.
Officials said the county took possession of the property last week. The county plans to begin demolishing the cabin in August.
Barrie said he had to take the fight as far as he did for the sake of a son who is a student at the University of Denver.
"This is a right that I had," he said, "And if I didn't stand up for it, what kind of an example would have I been setting for my son?"
Information from: Summit Daily News, http://www.summitdaily.com/