Bob Niccoli, a life-long rancher in Crested Butte,
Colo., says the decision to sell his ranch and leave town just got
easier. Niccoli protested a proposed development near his ranch in
early January. He asked Gunnison County planners to require
developer Dan Gallagher to build his 12 houses 100 feet back from a
riverside cliff overlooking Niccoli's property. The planners
conceded to a set-back of only 10 feet. Niccoli, who worries that
noise, dogs, kids, stereos, parties and cars will disturb his cows,
says he will appeal the set-back decision to county commissioners.
"I thought the planning commission's goals were to help maintain
ranching and keep the valley diversified," he says. Niccoli says
many people want agricultural land to remain near Crested Butte, a
booming ski area resort, but land prices of $6,000-$7,000 per acre
mean that "the one that has the most money speaks the loudest."
Niccoli says he plans to eventually sell his ranch and move to a
less developed area in Montana.