OPEN SPACE AND TRAILS BOARD APPROVES UPDATED POLICY Pitkin County Open Space and Trails (OST) has updated its Open Space Agriculture Policy and Process. The Policy was approved Jan. 6 by the Open Space and Trails Board. Find the new Policy below.
THE BACKGROUND OST developed the first iteration of the Agricultural Lease Bid Process and Policy (the “Policy”) in 2014 to lease county-owned land for agriculture in a competitive way that was fair and transparent. The process was amended and updated in 2017 to remove redundancy in the selection criteria and include guidance on subleases and infrastructure improvements. OST staff have relied on the Pitkin County Procurement Code as the technical backbone throughout the life of the formal lease bid process and policy. While this was adequate in the past, the growth and progress of the agricultural leasing program can now be further refined through technical updates to the Policy. The selection criteria used to score lease applications has also been reviewed by staff and been identified as an area for improvement. The criteria drive the progress of the program by guiding OST in selecting the most appropriate lessee for a specific OST property. The selection criteria and policies must evolve in concert with the progress of the agricultural community it serves.
Staff have updated the Policy, incorporated the recommendations, and developed a document that not only gives guidance to OST staff in selecting appropriate lessees but also gives clear guidance and expectations to potential lessees. Notable edits include a purpose statement with program goals, an expansion of guidance related to the evaluation criteria, annual lease review, end of lease review and possible lease renewal, guidance on appeals, elimination of lease rate from evaluation criteria, and guidance on equity and outreach.
For more information contact: Paul Holsinger, Agriculture and Conservation Easement Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-920-5237