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Developers declare open season on Garfield County

Dear Editor,

Dissenters at Westbank lost their fight April 8 to have their community remain free of Prehm Ranch traffic, due to the fact that Larry McCown said that the county couldn’t afford to fight costly litigation lawsuits with our taxpayers’ money. The decision was based on the reasoning that not only will our county suffer, but residents north of DeBeque will be paying the bill as well to fight Westbank’s lawsuit.

Well, I can’t think of a better way to spend our taxpayers’ money than having our rights upheld in our legal system. Because the county doesn’t want to go to court for us, we will have to let rich land developers break the law, as they did at Westbank, by joining two subdivisions illegally and putting in a road that the County Commissioners voted unanimously twice to deny.



Prehm Ranch gets away with breaking the law and the County Commissioners do nothing to uphold their decision, because it would be too expensive for taxpayers. Only John Martin upheld the ethics of previous decisions and said this was totally wrong. He admitted that it puts them in a bad light to not uphold their public decisions.

When hearings first began last year between Prehm Ranch and Westbank, the County Commissioners stated that any thoroughfare that passes two or more properties was considered a road and must be approved by the county. Commissioners Stowe and McCown must have had a memory lapse since that day, or weren’t listening. John Martin was the only commissioner to abide by the original statement and commitment.



How can Prehm Ranch/Marlin Colorado Ltd. just go ahead and disregard two county public meetings, where they were twice denied access to Westbank? Obviously our legal system does not work in this county, and if this can go unpunished, then there is no law to protect any of you who may have the same or similar situations happen to you.

Do we just give up and say it’s a rich land developer and their lawyers? None of us have a chance in this county because commissioners will not uphold their own decisions, so just give developers what they want. They will get it eventually anyway.

Scare tactics and threats from developers can really happen according to Larry McCown. We are forced to settle even if the developer uses threats as a ploy to get their way. It is our only choice, according to the Westbank lawyer, unless we want to be in court for 10 years and spend thousands of dollars and possibly lose.

What right does Larry McCown have to assume how taxpayers want to spend their dollars? We, as citizens, want to be protected by the courts no matter what the issue and are willing to pay enough taxes to back our legal system. That’s my opinion.

John Martin thought we should keep an access through Prehm Ranch property via an old railroad bed so Garfield residents could enjoy this property. Perhaps a bike or footpath for public access along the river would have been nice. This too was voted down by Larry McCown and Walt Stowe.

So, Garfield County residents, we are the losers because this might have made a great access from Glenwood to Carbondale without having to use Highway 82 for recreational purposes. Only Prehm Ranch wins, hands down, and will take what they want from the settlement legal or illegal, and get away with breaking the law again and again at Westbank.

Would county residents be arrested if they should decide to take a stroll, jog or ride their bike on this private road? John Martin asked this question with no response from Prehm Ranch’s lawyer. What do you think?

Sincerely,

Rosella Leety

Westbank


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