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.

Anonymous says:
Apr 16, 2010 05:09 PM
Pure and simple. In a sense it's the collector's mentality gone horribly awry with costs and consequences that we all must share. This is a prime example of the concept of externalities where he profits from the system while the rest of us bear the costs of his devaluing parks and wildernesses. It's one where the county zoning board has to realize that their codes are going to cost them when fewer people come to visit and spend their money.
Anonymous says:
Apr 16, 2010 10:32 PM
Ed Marston got it right when he said "Scorched earth should be met with scorched earth", Damn right!! This calls for a public lands development campaign in the interest of stimulating the West's economy, and showing the elitist Chapman's of- the- world what for. Think of all the possibilities. A massive dam in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to spoil Chapman's view. It could be the dawn of a renaissance for the extractive industries. HCN could pull in some great ad revenue from oil companies, etc. Wait a minute: Maybe the Marstons have an ulterior motive here.