If you live in the Denver area you are probably aware of an obscure little part of town, on the west side of the metro area, called Dinosaur Ridge. Most people refer to the place as Dino Ridge. Dino Ridge has been in the news recently and serves as a perfect illustration of the grossly immoral zoning laws that rob property owners of their right to manage what they own as they see fit. Let's consider that truth for a moment today.
Dino Ridge came into existence because some governmental entity decided to build a road over the hogback near Morrison, Colorado many years ago. While cutting the pathway for the road a portion of the hogback was exposed that revealed some old dinosaur tracks in some dried mud. For years nobody paid much attention to the area. I only knew about it because I rode my bike over the hogback hundreds of times while out on various rides. Then one day I noticed that somebody had constructed a fence around the tiny area (it is probably only about 100 feet by 100 feet in size). I assumed someone didn't want people walking around on the tracks. Good for them, I thought.
Some time later somebody built a small shelter near the tracks and shortly after that some group started doing lectures for school children. I would listen in as I rode past and heard all of those government school children dutifully learning about the glories of evolution and the tremendous age of the earth. Sometimes I would laugh and other times I would cry as I rode by. Then, not so many years ago, somebody built a visitor center and managed to get the road closed to vehicular traffic. The area officially became known as Dinosaur Ridge and the place officially became a National Natural Landmark, whatever that means. I suspect that means it gets federal taxpayer dollars. That would explain the sudden development of the area. I resent the fact that I am being taxed to support Dino Ridge and you should too.
Dino Ridge is located between two motorsports arenas. Bandimere Speedway is a drag strip and most famous for the annual Mile High Nationals, held in July. It is a stone's throw from the dinosaur tracks. The other way up the road, about a mile to the north, is Thunder Valley. Thunder Valley is a nationally recognized motocross arena. It is used frequently throughout the warmer months. Between Dino Ridge and Thunder Valley is some undeveloped land owned by a fellow named Stevinson with plans for development. That is when the trouble began. I only mention the two motorsports arenas that border Dino Ridge to illustrate the rather obvious fact that the area is not a pristine natural area in the middle of the wilderness. Dino Ridge is right in the middle of a loud, dusty, smelly and sometimes heavily used motorsports complex.
The man who owns the property already had permission, via the zoning commissioners, to develop the location as a mixed use light industrial and commercial area. At some point along the way he decided that he wanted to build a car lot on the property, in addition to the hotel, restaurants, warehouses and other items already approved by the county. That decision sent the "friends of Dino Ridge" into a frenzy and they embarked upon a campaign to deny the owner the right to build a car lot on his own property. To make a long story short, the idiots at Dino Ridge were successful in convincing the zoning commission to deny the owner the right to build a car lot on his property. They complained that the lights from the parking lots where the cars were on display would destroy the pristine nature of their dinosaur tracks. Frankly, I don't see how their argument holds water. It seems to me that more ambient light would make the tracks visible to night visitors as well. But who am I to tell an environmentalist anything?
What makes the story interesting, in addition to the usual envy, is the fact that the owner of the property offered to build a new $700,000 visitor center, on his property, for the friends of Dino Ridge. They rejected his offer. What also makes the story interesting is the owner can still develop the property commercially, without the prior approval of the Dino Ridge tyrants. The only difference is he cannot build a car lot on the property. So guess what the evil folks at Dino Ridge have decided to do now. You guessed it. They are requesting that the owner be stripped of his property rights and forbidden to develop his land in any way.
Fortunately it does not look like they will be successful. The zoning commission recognized that the land was already zoned commercial-industrial and that taking away that designation today would constitute a "taking" that is illegal under the current law. Don't expect that to stop the envy filled hate mongers at Dino Ridge however. They won't quit until they have stolen every last cent of value from the owner of the land near their deified natural landmark.
Gerald Shin, of Littleton, wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post shortly after the commissioners handed down their decision. He was upset with an editorial in the paper the previous day which pointed out the Pyrrhic nature of the Dino advocates victory. I quote him here today because he is a perfect example of what it means to be a God-hating socialist in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika today. He wrote, "I am a native Coloradoan and have lived in unincorporated Jefferson county for 38 years. I am opposed to the development proposal for the northwest quadrant of the Dinosaur Ridge area. I would prefer that the area remain untouched. Natural areas in the Denver area are disappearing quickly. Greg Stevinson's proposal seems to send the message: I want this or else you will get something worse. This also seems to be the same message as the Denver Post's editorial. Is this cooperation? Is this giving the public what they want? Is this a good neighbor? Do we need another hotel? Do we need more car lots? Do we need more retail stores? Can we come together to buy and preserve this gem?"
Gerald is an envy-filled socialist. I have lived in Colorado longer than he has and I want the property where his home is located to be preserved as open space forever. I wonder what he thinks of that proposal? I think his property should be condemned and razed so my pristine view of nature is unspoiled by his ugly property. If I can get enough people to agree with me we can use the coercive power of government to destroy Gerald's home. I wonder what he would do then?
I also have some questions for Gerald. Why is what a man wants to do with his own property any of your business? Did you "cooperate" with your neighbors when you built your home in unincorporated Jefferson county? Did you get their permission prior to building? If not, how can you call yourself a good neighbor? Are you as much of a hypocrite as you seem to be? Who designated you to be the determiner of what the public wants? How did you determine that the public, whatever that is, does not want a hotel near Dino Ridge? I am a part of the public you write about and I think a nice resort hotel would be a wonderful addition to the area. Why am I wrong and why are you right?
Gerald, you talk about "we" a lot. I am not one of your "we." I believe we should leave people alone. I believe we should mind our own businesses. I believe we should let people do what they want with the property they own. I believe we do harm to our neighbors when we use the coercive power of government to force them to bend to our will in regards to the use of their own property.
Gerald wants "we" to buy the land near Dino Ridge. How much of his own money is he willing to put up to make the purchase? I bet you the answer to that is "none." When it comes down to paying for things "we" no longer includes Gerald I am quite sure. I am not willing to pay a dime so don't include me in your "we" when it comes time to raise funds. And most certainly do not attempt to use the taxing power of civil government to raise the funds to rob our neighbor. That is called theft and you will be punished in the Lake of Fire for eternity if you die without repenting from that sort of activity.