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20 acres protected near The Canyons

Instead of housing a strip mall 20 acres of property east of State Road 224 near The Canyons will remain as open space, Summit County officials say.

"There is always that potential," deputy Summit County attorney Dave Thomas said, adding that now the land "can’t be used for any other purpose."

Protecting the parcel cost Summit County $5 million.

"There have certainly been a number of development applications that have included this parcel," Thomas explained. "[The county] will use it as open space."

Builders even considered the property for portions of a golf course near The Canyons, he said.

The land is easily viewed from S.R. 224.

Today Summit County expects to close the deal by paying $600,000 and obtaining a deed of trust and promissory note worth $4.4 million that is due Nov. 23.

"The county will receive a deed," Thomas said, adding that a third party will hold the conservation easement on the land.

The county’s Basin Open Space Advisory Committee eyed the property for years, he explained.

"It was one of those pieces of property that BOSAC had wanted," Thomas said. "It’s very visible and valuable to the county."

A competing offer for the property was higher than Summit County’s, Thomas said, adding that officials are grateful landowners Ike and Billie Koleman accepted the county’s lower proposal.

A recent plan for the land involved a builder constructing lodging for the United States Air Force.

"Our land is right across the street from The Canyons," Ike Koleman said, adding that BOSAC paid about market rate for his property. "It’s right on the highway."

Summit County officials "fought very hard to keep the Air Force from building" there, Koleman said.

He lives in ParkWest Village and has owned the land for more than 30 years, he said, adding that the property once housed a school for small children.

"We’re delighted that it’s going to remain as open space. We were emotionally involved in the land for over 30 years," Koleman said. "We raised horses on that land and we raised hay on that land to feed the horses."

According to Koleman, who is 80 years old, "we never tried to develop until we got up in age."

"We’ve been trying for the last 10 years to get some development done," he said. "[Summit County’s] performance as planners had some questionable practices We have gone through county changes that have not helped."

Today Koleman expects the Summit County Commission to approve the open-space transaction.


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