County does have a right of way through Prehm Ranch
In looking over a number of documents on file in the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, in the state offices of the Department of Highways, and some other public places, I reviewed documents that reflect that not only does Garfield County own a public road through the realty of Prehm Ranch of some 60 feet in width, but also owns it by having paid for it. There are County Commissioners’ resolutions detailing payment from prior owners, along with recorded deeds and receipts. Interestingly, the records show the county owns the road only to the SOUTH boundary of Prehm Ranch. From there, there is no public ownership of the road as the records I reviewed show the county deeded their rights back to the developer of Westbank Ranch. But that is only the beginning.
Garfield County records and recorded documents also reflect that when the Midland Railroad went bankrupt many years ago, the trustee in bankruptcy deeded to Garfield County the railroad right of way which runs through Prehm Ranch, as well as for a great distance further south. That grant was essentially a strip of land 100 feet which still appears to be owned by Garfield County. Taken together with the road Garfield already owns, this is more than double the amount of publicly owned right of way through Prehm Ranch than the Prehm Ranch owners, the County Attorney or anyone else has noted in the public hearings.
Judge Ossola has allowed the county to take evidence in the hearings in front of the commissioners in his temporary restraining order. These facts are evidence of two public rights of way that should be presented to the Commissioners and the court by these parties as they are public record. In effect, taken together, these rights of way are wide enough to land jet planes on Prehm Ranch, or to build almost any conceivable public facilities, even a maintenance center, a bus barn, local light rail route or maybe a small airport.
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