Land Purchace Survey

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Land Purchace Survey

Postby april » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:59 pm

With the recent announcement of the unavailability of Wellington Lake, the D-Fest Land search has been kicked into high gear. We need to know how the membership feels about purchasing land, and the compromises that entails. This is the first of a series of polls that I need data from. We are considering partnerships with other events, and other options for increasing our purchase power, but finding what OUR community is willing to do is the first step.

Please answer all questions assuming land was found, financed, and prepared for our use before D-Fest 2010.

Do you think D-Fest should purchase land? Yes, No
How much extra would you be willing to pay per adult to support this goal? None, $5, $10, $20, $30, $50, $100
Would you be willing and able to make a onetime donation in order to help us purchase and improve land this year? No, Under $20, $20-$50, $50-$100, $100-$200, $200-$500, Over $500
Would you be willing and able to put “Sweat Equity” into the land this spring/summer? No, 1 day, 2 days, 3-4 days, 5-7days, over 7 days
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Re: Land Purchace Survey

Postby Emrys » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:48 pm

april wrote:Do you think D-Fest should purchase land? Yes
How much extra would you be willing to pay per adult to support this goal? $20
Would you be willing and able to make a onetime donation in order to help us purchase and improve land this year? $20-$50
Would you be willing and able to put “Sweat Equity” into the land this spring/summer? Not sure (would try)
I hope this is where you wanted the poll answered, April.
--Emrys
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Things to Think About

Postby Flwyd » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:50 am

(BTW, Apirl: Did you know the message board lets you create a poll with check boxes and bar graphs?)

(cross-posted from the dfdiscuss mailing list, for anyone who's thinking the "If we don't buy land, what else can we do?")

Essentially, there are four categories of options:

* Public Land (BLM, Forest Service, etc.)
This is the choice of both Rainbow Gatherings and Burning Man, but
with very different execution. On the forest side, I don't know of
any USFS campgrounds (certainly within three hours of Denver) that
would hold the whole 800 of us. The Rainbow folks have a team that
finds appropriate sites quite a ways from roads. This means they're
on their own for everything: sanitary latrines, water, transporting
stuff from vehicles to the site, etc. There is a permitting process
(that Rainbow Gatherings mostly ignore), and if there was a good site
we could presumably get porta-potties and other facility stuff there.
RVs, car camping, and mobility-challenged access would be hard to pull
off. It would, however, be a very close-to-nature experience.

Burning Man, on the other hand, takes a very blank-slate piece of BLM
land and creates a whole city (one of the most populous in Nevada). A
huge number of people put a huge amount of work in the month before
the event (and especially the week before), as well as an amazingly
thorough cleanup process. (Rainbow also has folks on site for a month
before and after.) Our infrastructure (even if we took away all the
trees) is a lot smaller, but we might need to extend the setup period
and have a lot more shade structures. Car and RV camping are easy,
but all shade, seats, fire pits, and everything else must be brought
along. (This assumes a relatively flat BLM site. As the largest
landholder in America, they have some places that are totally
unworkable.)

* Private Campgrounds
As in locations with existing camp sites, generally open to the
public. The board investigated one such option recently and I hear
the site meets our base criteria, but highway proximity created noise
and privacy concerns. (As a burner, my first instinct was "Build a
shade structure that solves three problems.") Structurally, this
would be a lot like Wellington: fairly minimal work needed on our
part, fairly accessible for cars, RVs, and folks with mobility issues,
etc. Fees and owner caprice could be an issue, but I wouldn't expect
something of a different scale than Wellington had. In addition to
campgrounds open to the general public, we might want to consider
current and past Boy Scout camps.

* Private Ranch/Farmland
Work out an arrangement with someone who owns 40+ acres of rural
land. It wouldn't have a lot of infrastructure to use, but it could
be as comfortable as a national forest (or it could be more BLM-
level). Dreamtime, most regional Burning Man events, and lots of
other festivals follow this route. With the right land owner (someone
who shares our community values), this could be a great arrangement.
This is the most wide-open option, and probably depends on someone in
the community knowing someone with appropriate land. For instance,
Dragonfest on Dreamtime's land could be interesting, especially if our
event was the week after theirs and we took responsibility for tearing
down their shade structures. Unfortunately, Paonia is 4-5 hours away
from Denver (so we'd have to change the bylaws to meet there) and
camping there is less comfortable than camping at Wellington.

* Buy Our Own Land
Independently (if we can raise a lot of money) or with other groups,
purchase a parcel of land in categories 2 or 3. This is the route
taken by the Renaissance Festival, the Boy Scouts, and other groups
that have a revenue stream for more than one week a year. This comes
with the most responsibility -- taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.
every year. It also comes with the most flexibility: given enough
volunteer and financial energy, we can shape the site to what best
meets our needs. It might require raised ticket prices, more year-
round volunteer work, expanded services to generate additional income,
etc. It's been a long-term dream for a lot of Dragonfest members, but
a lot of folks have also questioned the costs and benefits of doing so
now that we've looked at exactly what it entails.


I've tried to be objective in these observations so that other folks
can contribute their opinion on which trade-offs are best. Unless we
find something a lot like Wellington, some things about the retreat
will have to change (some for the better, we hope), though the degree
of difference depends on the type of site. Let's make sure we discuss
what will change in addition to the view.
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Re: Land Purchace Survey

Postby Flwyd » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:00 am

april wrote:Do you think D-Fest should purchase land?

No. My preference order from my previous post is roughly 2, 1, 3, 4, though with the right site any of the first three could be my favorite.

How much extra would you be willing to pay per adult to support this goal?

$30. I'm assuming this would be a permanent ticket price rise, not a one-time increase.

Would you be willing and able to make a onetime donation in order to help us purchase and improve land this year?

Over $500, but only once we have a target parcel.

Would you be willing and able to put “Sweat Equity” into the land this spring/summer?

Too late! ;-) If I'm living in Colorado, I'd put several weekends of work in.

If I'd been asked for it this year, I could have put several weeks of sweat in, since my answer to "What did you do this summer?" was already "Provide manual labor in hot environments to construct structures for temporary communities."


(Note: I'm opposed to the purchase, but if the community decided purchase was best, I'd work to make it happen well.)
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Postby Bryir » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:28 am

Do you think D-Fest should purchase land? No not right away. We need to have things in place to support the land once we own it. I think having that structure in place first (make money, when stable buy)
How much extra would you be willing to pay per adult to support this goal? $20 - this one is hard I already spend a small fortune just driving there.
Would you be willing and able to make a onetime donation in order to help us purchase and improve land this year? Honest...Maybe.
Would you be willing and able to put “Sweat Equity” into the land this spring/summer? No I would love to but distance matters.
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Postby april » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:42 pm

To those concerned about the purchase emphasis of this thread:

The board is working off list of possible alternatives similar to Trevors. Individuals have been assigned to research each of the alternatives we came up with, and present findings to the board. I am researching purchase as an option. We (including board members) have visited a very friendly RV resort, someone is researching national forest use, someone is researching BLM lease, and someone is contacting ski resorts. If anyone knows of any large available ranches we would be happy to add them to our list, but not knowing where to start on that avenue is not being actively researched yet. The DF Board is being very proactive about this, and is not limiting their inquiries to just 1 option. If you notice a land purchase focus from me, that is not reflected by the DF board, that is reflective of my assignment.

April
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Re: Land Purchace Survey

Postby Jareth » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:44 pm

Do you think D-Fest should purchase land? No

The land search has been fruitless for years if not decades. No comprehensive business plan is available that demonstrates a land purchase as a sustainable model and most efficient use of member funds.

How much extra would you be willing to pay per adult to support this goal? None

Dfest has been one of the more expensive festivals and the fees keep increasing. Other festivals throughout the year cost less, have less infrastructure and have as much or more in terms of experiential activity.

Would you be willing and able to make a onetime donation in order to help us purchase and improve land this year? No

I do not believe that a "one time donation" would kickstart anything if the funds currently available cannot be put to an economic use.

Would you be willing and able to put “Sweat Equity” into the land this spring/summer? No

This is somewhat hypocritical on my part. The reason I am unwilling is I am not invested enough in the community. However, the reason I am not invested enough is that I do not believe enough of the community is invested enough to make things work.

I do not believe Dfest has an infrastructure model that fosters community support. Dfest attracts rather than repels playgans who want to pay their fee, go to workshops rather than put them on, and attend parties. It repels people who want to create and share spirituality. I don't know if this is because everything has to be cleared by some "Lady of the Lake" or workshop committee and vetted for liability and appropriateness.

The retreat is stuck in a cycle of making it easier for people, attracting those who want it easy, therefore no support from the attendees for those who want to create, therefore requiring more infrastructure and support from the dedicated staff, therefore needing to make it even easier for people, incurring ever increasing costs in the process.

This cycle and the need for a paradigm shift from infrastructure to creativity has been referenced many, many, many times over the years since I began attending. Requesting more funds and more labor on top of it to continue the same modus operandi is the epitome of "throwing money at the problem". I do not feel the need to support the same culture of pseudo-inidvidiuality and invest my sweat equity when the ROI is higher elsewhere. The irony is that I'm more interested in investing sweat equity when the business model requires less sweat equity.

Maybe the Wellington closure is a gift from the gods. The People of Low PID always talk about the magic of the good old days when the Community Center was 2 tarps bungeed together. If Dfest has any community magic left in its heart, maybe getting back to basics will draw it out.

april wrote:The DF Board is being very proactive about this, and is not limiting their inquiries to just 1 option. If you notice a land purchase focus from me, that is not reflected by the DF board, that is reflective of my assignment.


Unfortunately, with the perpetual visibility, communication, and transparency issues, until we see similar activity from the board on their assignments, your work IS reflective of the focus of the board through no fault of your own.

To whoever is assigned: The Happy Ass and Parrish ranches have been suggested in the past as alternatives.
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Postby amberwench » Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:05 pm

Do you think D-Fest should purchase land? No.

The first no also means no to the rest of the questions.

Good points have already been made; all I could add are personal examples of why not, so I'll leave it at this.
"What's beyond the horizons' horizion?"
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Survey Answers...

Postby Terra & Fett » Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:22 pm

Do you think D-Fest should purchase land? Yes

How much extra would you be willing to pay per adult to support this goal? $20

Would you be willing and able to make a onetime donation in order to help us purchase and improve land this year? $20-$50

Would you be willing and able to put “Sweat Equity” into the land this spring/summer? 1 day or 2 days (depending on location!)
Terra, Fett, D-man and Squid in the Springs.
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