Owner moves 2,500 offending trees

by Lynn Burton
Post Independent Staff

How does a ranch owner go about moving 2,500 transplanted spruce trees?

Pretty quickly, in the case of Okanela Ranch owner Peter Knobel.

Knobel planted the trees without permission along County Road 137 earlier this fall, and on Oct. 13 the Garfield County Commissioners told him to move them.

“We started moving them the day after the commissioner meeting,” Knobel said. “It took us about two and a half or three weeks.”

“It appears that all of the trees have been moved,” said Garfield County Road and Bridge supervisor Bobby Branham. “I was up there Thursday.”

Okanela Ranch covers 500 acres, and is located about 2.5 miles up County Road 137, northwest of Glenwood Springs in an area known as Canyon Creek.

Knobel took out a building permit for his property last June. The permit, on file at the Garfield County Courthouse, calls for a $600,000 “barn/shop/gar-age/employee housing,” within a 17,500-square-foot, three-story building.

“It’s a personal residence,” Knobel said.

Earlier this year, Branham discovered Knobel planted the spruce tree on the County Road 137 right of way.

The trees, which ranged from approximately eight to 12 feet in height, ran along the east side of County Road 137 for about a half mile.

The commissioners said the trees could lead to icy conditions on County Road 137, and obstruct lines of sight for motorists on the narrow, twisty road.

Knobel said he has moved the trees onto his own property, east of their previous location.

In a related item, the commissioners still haven’t decided what to do with Knobel’s 8-foot elk fence, also built along County 137.

The fence violates height limits in the A/A/RD zone district, the county planning staff told the commissioners in October.

The Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on fence heights Wednesday, Dec. 10.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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