Hayden seeks river property
Moon family wants to swap land rather than sell 170-acre parcel
Steamboat Springs — Hayden wants to lay down dollars for property on the Yampa River, but negotiations with the family that owns it have gotten waterlogged.
The Carolyn Moon Trust owns the 170 acres west of the town’s sewage plant. The town had hoped to buy the land, but the Moon family wants to swap acreage instead. Negotiations nearly fell apart, but both parties think a deal might be possible.
“It’s very early into the talks, and there’s no lawyers, no nothing,” said Bill Moon, Carolyn Moon’s son. “It’s just, we’re throwing stuff back and forth.”
The acreage goes west of the plant to the Yampa and crosses U.S. Highway 40, Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said. The town wants to provide river access for residents and to continue using the haying land for agriculture, he said.
The town wanted to pay $1.5 million, the appraised value of the land, Martin said. He hopes to fund the purchase partly with Great Outdoors Colorado, money, which would prevent it from paying more than the appraised value, Martin said.
The town has pulled together about $1.2 million from various sources, Martin told the Hayden Town Board of Trustees on March 5.
The Moons disagree with that valuation, however. They’d like to exchange the land for state and Bureau of Land Management property on Sage Creek, Bill Moon said. His family lives in Hayden but not on the trust land.
“We like it, and it’s close to Hayden. : I’ve been here all my life, for the most part, and we wanted to stay close but not right in, not as close as we are now,” Moon said about why they want the Sage Creek property.
He and his mother have been negotiating with Martin on the trust parcel, which Bill Moon estimated had been in family hands for 45 or 50 years. The Moons want a larger piece of land because they think the trust land is worth more than the Sage Creek land, he said. The family wants to ranch on that land, Moon said.
Martin said he was working on possible proposals.
“The state land that they’re looking at isn’t one the state has really identified as developable, and the state, by definition, has to get something for the school systems” in exchange, Martin said.
The town might try to buy a smaller piece of the Moon property, he said. If not, it could seek an easement on that or an adjoining property.
The Moon land is most logical for the town because it adjoins sewer plant property Hayden already owns, Martin said.
Martin said he hoped to work something out with the Moons. River access on that land would give Hayden residents the opportunity for recreation on the Yampa close to town. The town also would like to build a trail along the river on the property, he said.
“I appreciate their position,” Martin said. “I do disagree with it. I think we’ve tried pretty hard to give them something that’s acceptable. You’ve got to appreciate that what they wanted was not something we had on the table.”
Bill Moon said the most recent discussions were in early stages. Does he think the town and the Moons can make a deal? “I sure hope so,” he said.
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