More than a starter castle


    Tom Chapman, the land developer whom just about everybody loves to hate, is at it again.
    Chapman's specialty is buying inholdings -- private land surrounded by public land -- and then either developing them, or threatening to develop them until he gets a good deal. He's been the subject of many articles in High Country News; here's an overview .
    Earlier this month, he was in the news for some land purchases near Telluride.
    He also has a 112-acre inholding in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose, where he's built a 4,754-square-foot house he's trying to sell, Casa Barranca I, which offers "elegance, privacy, security and exclusivity."
    And now he's proposing Casa Barranca II (barranca means gorge in Spanish, so the name is apt), a 25,000-square-foot "ultra-luxury residence" which "will be positioned high astride Signal Hill, the highest point in the park -- dominating over the entire 30,000-acre Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park."
    In other words, a chance to show off your superiority to other humans in the most conspicuous of ways.
    There's not much the Park Service can do about it, as the inholding comes under county zoning, and press accounts quote Montrose County officials as saying this conforms to county codes.
    So it could be quite the ridge-top castle, although lightning or high winds might be a problem.