Item: Development and liability in the ophir valley, colorado
Title: Development and liability in the ophir valley, colorado
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1998 International Snow Science Workshop, Sunriver, Oregon
Authors: Joseph Shults
Abstract: Ophir, Colorado, a small mining town located 8 miles from Telluride, Colorado, was heavily damaged by avalanches in the early 1900s. By the 1960s it was nearly a ghost town, but currently it is experiencing a revival. Much of the town and the 3 mile road up the valley lie directly in avalanche paths, making it one of the most threatened, habited valleys in North America. The dense concentration of large avalanche paths in combination with high land values make the Ophir valley an ideal case to study some of the social and legal questions associated with land development in and near areas threatened by avalanches. Some of the issues to be discussed include: What are the responsibilities of developers to disclose the hazards and possible costs of mitigation? Who pays for mitigation if there is any? What are the rights and responsibilities of land owners who 9wn portions of a path? And, of course, who pays if things go wrong? Information has been gathered from local legal advisors, residents, and local avalanche professionals.
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Keywords: liability, avalanche, zoning, mitigation
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