Foul play in Westbank
In a sheepish display of blatant disregard for the law, Commissioners Larry McCown and Walt Stowe approved an illegal road that was built through Westbank by developer Marlin Colorado Ltd. County attorney Don DeFord helped the two commissioners by providing some slick semantics and a couple of loopholes to use as rationalizations for the approval.
Obviously the law does not matter to these county officials whose salaries we pay for, who are charged with protecting the citizens of Garfield County, who used the excuse that it’s not their job to enforce our covenants or protect our children. We didn’t ask them to enforce our covenants. We asked them to uphold their own rules and regulations. John Martin was the only commissioner who spoke articulately and showed respect for the law.
It also became apparent in last week’s hearing that the 1902 deeded access doesn’t present much of a threat to Westbank. It would take untold years and millions of dollars to sort it out, plus there’s the not-insignificant issue of liability with the title company. That 1902 deeded access didn’t show up on the title work when Westbank Ranch was developed in the 1970s.
Should two commissioners be allowed to vacate that access now, to the benefit of Marlin and perhaps to the title company that made the error? Should two commissioners be allowed to take that access away from the citizens of Garfield County who could benefit by its use as part of the trail system? As it stands, the agreement benefits only one person and harms everybody else.
There is so much foul play here, so poorly disguised. The Westbank homeowners were conned into an absurd agreement, and it was that agreement the commissioners fell back on as an excuse to not do their job. Westbank will be irrevocably harmed by this settlement. The citizens of Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Valley will be irrevocably harmed by this settlement.
A handful of people who don’t seem to believe in democracy made this decision without regard to the rest of their neighbors in Westbank. I wonder if they realize what they have done. I wonder if any of those six people have the courage to admit their mistake and fight to correct this injustice.
This sets far too dangerous a precedent for us to turn our backs on. We should appeal this decision and ask for the citizens of Garfield County to get involved by calling the Westbank Alliance. For more information on how they can help, call 945-7443.
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