Eminent Domain

Colorado County Bullies Couple into Handing Over Land for Non-Use


government's just us, gimme!

The Barries, Ceil and Andy, of Summit County, Colorado, have been fighting their local government, which was trying to use eminent domain to seize their land and keep it "open space." The Barries bought 10 acres and a cabin just outside Breckenridge in the White River National Forest in 2011. The sale came with an all-terrain vehicle, but the U.S. Forest Service told the Barries they couldn't use the old mining road to get to the cabin from their home in the sub-division below.

The county got involved when the Barries petitioned it to declare the road a county route, which would permit them to use it. Instead, the county offered to buy the land. The Barries refused.

Then the county condemned the cabin over plumbing and electricity issues (the cabin has neither and a prior owner didn't get permits to remodel it) and then tried to use eminent domain to take it.

The Barries finally agreed to a sale, or "voluntary settlement" according to the county, this week, for $115,000. That amount, they say, barely covered the legal bills and a portion of the land value. It got too expensive to fight the government, and court-ordered mediation indicated they weren't going to win, as Fox News reports:

The Barries said the slim odds laid out by a mediation judge also influenced them to settle.

"The judge, who was the mediator, basically told us, 'You're fighting Summit County, in the Summit County Courthouse with a Summit County jury and a Summit County judge that has to be re-elected by Summit County voters in November, you're not going to win'," said Ceil Barrie.

The county cited "motorized travel" (the Barries say they've never gone off-road on their property) and "commercial activity" (Andy Barrie says he collected pinecones for his Christmas wreath business) in the area as reasons for trying to take the land from the Barries.

h/t Raven Nation

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  1. Shouldn’t this be filed under the “Nutpunch” category?

  2. Portland drains reservoir after dude pisses in it:

    Who the fuck decided to store water in open reservoirs AFTER it gets treated?

    1. I don’t get it either. Open reserviours prior to treatment, okay, but after processing? makes no bloody sense.

      1. It’s a huge body of water. It dilutes the shit out of anything that goes in it. Plus, where are you going to store it? Open reservoirs are fine.

        1. As this was the same place that drained it last time, they don’t really have a need for huge slack capacity for droughts. They could get away with smaller closed tanks being in the middle of rain country after all.

          Besides we didn’t just get through removing those parts per million of contaminants just to let new parts per million come in.

          1. If there is something we don’t worry about in Portland it is droughts.

          2. There are drought worries in summer. Two summers ago Seattle (which has pretty similar weather to Portland) went 89 days straight without rain (man that was a great summer). There were forest fires and other problems because of it.

            As for the contamination, what could get in there in any volume that could make the slightest difference? Someone taking a piss in water of that volume is laughably inconsequential.

            1. Aesthetically- algae, organic matter, and runoff minerals causing color, smell, and taste problems.
              Health wise- e-coli from animal shit. It only takes a few geese or seagulls to cause a major problem.

        2. Homeopathy has a strong following in Portlandia. One assumes they were worried about homeopathic urine.

          1. Snap.

        3. Most water utilities, both public and private, build enclosed water tanks, or build standpipes and pump water directly from treatment to distribution. Out of necessity for a continuous supply of water, most large buildings in urban areas actually solve the problem with their own enclosed rooftop storage tanks. Perfect example of a private solution.

    2. OMFG!

      Let’s say a guy can piss a quart of urine. 38 million gallons of H2O is 152 million quarts. 1 part per 152 million is urine. YGBFSM! The stupid is strong in OR.

      So no animals piss or shit in the reservoir? No birds fly over and take a shit. No deer piss uphill from it. No beavers climb through those bars and piss in it? Rain doesn’t wash shit off the banks and into the water?

      What the fuck is wrong with people?

      1. The problem is that we can now detect parts per billion. Of course his urine would have to be more than one part in six substances other than water to be detectable at the full part per billion level. Its just the downside of homeopathy.

      2. Urine = biohazard


        1. People have lost their minds.

  3. This is not a legitimate government interest. They should have made a fuss online to try and get aid for their legal fund. It’s the sort of story that could have sparked a lot of attention if done right.

    1. I wonder if the Institute for Justice even knew about this, because they probably would have taken it up.

  4. “The judge, who was the mediator, basically told us, ‘You’re fighting Summit County, in the Summit County Courthouse with a Summit County jury and a Summit County judge that has to be re-elected by Summit County voters in November, you’re not going to win’,” said Ceil Barrie.

    But remember: Democracy is there to protect our rights.

    1. Aren’t monopolies on force grand?

    2. I sure hope they got that statement on video at the deposition. Only of course, they didn’t.

    3. This is why I don’t like elected judges. Obviously there are problems with lifetime appointments too, but I think judges are the last people you want to have to respond to public sentiment.

      1. What if we just had term appointments (no reappointment) with a benefit system that was in place for the whole next person’s term. Kinda, creating a decent incentive without locking us in.

        1. That sounds like a good approach.

        2. What about private courts hired jointly by the parties concerned? Reputations for fairness would be important, contra any elected judge who only wants to be popular, or appointed judge who only cares about not getting caught in outright bribery.

  5. “voluntary settlement”

    It was an offer they couldn’t refuse.

  6. I often wonder how government bureaucrats who do this type of thing sleep at night.

    Then I realized they have no conscience, or otherwise they wouldn’t be a government bureaucrat.

    1. HEY! I do too have a conscience. I stole it off a homeless dude. Looks strangely like a cricket.

      1. So you live in the heart of darkness. Are mercilessness and depravity things that there are seminars on or are they requirements to get employment in the first place?

        1. Natural side effect of the toxic environment.

      2. HEY! I do too have a conscience. I stole it off a homeless dude. Looks strangely like a cricket.

        +1 Jiminy Cricket

    2. I often wonder how government bureaucrats who do this type of thing sleep at night.

      Very well, I’d imagine. Most of these people go into government to do exactly this type of thing. It’s not like they get there and they suddenly say, “Wha… you want me to do what? But those nice people!”

      1. Exactly. The worst possible people gravitate to these jobs. And anyone who accidentally finds themselves in one usually quits soon enough.

        1. The type of people who go into these jobs invariably are progtards who think that all property is theft and since we stole the land from the wildlife, that returning as open space is “social justice”, and whatever older white male used to own it deserves what he has coming.

  7. I lived in Summit County for a few years in my youth, doing the ski bum thing. Beautiful country, beautiful girls, same shitty government as everywhere else.

  8. Probably that judge is a fucking cunt.

    1. “Hey, I can see that land from my house. If that’s privately held land, they might someday decide to build there. That threatens my view of ‘nature’. These people cannot be allowed to keep that land, or my view might be despoiled by development.”


  9. Robbery Government is just a word for things we do together.

  10. I have a hard time thinking that those who do these kinds of things have kids, or mothers, for that matter. How does one have any kind of loving relationship when they are such blatant dicks?

  11. Pine cone poachers. I can see a dynamic visit from a USFS SWAT team coming their way.

  12. I’ve been shopping for land near Durango and have ignored anything fully contained in national forest or wilderness for fear of exactly what happened to these people. I’ve stuck to established subdivisions with larger plots.

    1. Wait a year. Forest fire season is going to be bad down in that area this year, methinks.

  13. Another victory for the Rule of Law.

  14. A perfecxt5 example of the “Public Means Everybody but YOU” rule.

    That mountain needs to be preserved for the public. Get the fuck off.

    1. I see you got the db keyboard.

  15. tuping is hsrd.

  16. My family has land in the Sierra Nevadas that is now completely surrounded by government land (National Forest). It’s been in my family since the late 1800s. We used to drive in there along old fire roads before the feds decided that we weren’t allowed to do that anymore. Then we used ATVs, until the feds decided we weren’t allowed to do that anymore (access isn’t in a designated OHV area). We could still use horse (I think), but getting horses up there is a giant pain in the arse.

    So we’re left with hiking in. My dad is 65 with knees destroyed by a lifetime of cattle ranching. Feds don’t care. After all, it’s just his land. Why would he want to access it?

    1. That’s dumb. National Forests are supposed to be used for many purposes, not preserved like parks.

      1. Oh Zeb. Dear, sweet, naive Zeb.

      2. Sure, as long as you have explicit permission for one of the approved “many purposes.”

        Accessing ancestral land and cabins is not approved. Why? Because FYTW.

    2. After all, it’s just his land.

      Well, not actually.

    3. Shouldn’t you have a defacto easement across some chain of parcels that the feds bought up?

      1. To paraphrase Will Munny: “Should’s got nothing to do with it.”

        1. “Hey fuck you, Ned!”

  17. Then the county condemned the cabin over plumbing and electricity issues (the cabin has neither and a prior owner didn’t get permits to remodel it)

    How did the county get up there to check these things? Oh, right… the unusable road.

    1. Don’t fool Mother Nature!

  18. Is it too much to hope that they left enough toxic waste on the land to make Love Canal look like a bit of a mess?

    1. I doubt the couple had access to that volume of waste.

      Irony at love canal is that the chemical company was least at fault for the leak beacuse A: they fought hard to not sell, and B: they gave warnings up the wazoo to not break the seals. The school district promptly ignored them, forced sale at threat of eminent domain, tore off the cap by grading the surface, then dug a channel through the wall and filled it with gravel.

      1. The only thing that amazes me anymore is how otherwise intelligent and reasonably skeptical people believe that the government is serving some useful purpose despite constant signs of incompetence, corruption, and malfeasance.

        It is sarcasmic’s world, we just live in it.

      2. So, essentially they behaved like the EPA guy in Ghostbusters.

        1. The EPA guy in Ghostbusters was the soul of decency compared to the Love Canal idiots.

      3. I know. I know. Just a version of the “I hope the land is cursed” updated to modern parlance.

        And yeah, the background of the Love Canal story is something you never hear from all the environmentalists yammering about how we can’t trust the free markets.

        1. I’d add that there’s an additional irony that Hooker Chemical bought the site after it had already been extensively used for waste disposal.

    2. Since there’s an old mining road, that may be a preexisting condition.

      1. If you like your cabin in the woods, you can keep it.

  19. Will Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins be waiting there? As long as the Buckner Family doesn’t show up I think I can deal.

    1. That was meant to be in reply to The Last American Hero.

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