Silt sues county over a road maintenance agreement
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Frustrated with what it calls a failure to live up to a 1996 agreement over road maintenance, the town of Silt has sued Garfield County. Court records indicate the town filed a complaint against the county on Nov. 14, 2006, alleging that the county did not live up to an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) signed on May 13, 1996. In the agreement, the county agreed to maintain and repair county roads 311, 331 and 346 until the developers of the proposed Stillwater Ranch south of Silt file a first final plat for the proposed subdivision.The Stillwater Ranch development, which was annexed into the town of Silt, was approved in 1997 for 1,198 single-family dwelling units and 162 townhomes and condominiums on a 1,472-acre site south of the Colorado River. The development is also slated to include two golf courses, hiking and equestrian trails, a community center, a swimming pool and some commercial development.Since then, the Stillwater development has had a number of setbacks over the years, including missed deadlines and defaults as well as financing troubles and problems in negotiations with the owners of the property, Valley Farms Inc. In November 2006 the Silt town board agreed to give Stillwater developers until August of this year to come to terms with Valley Farms.In it’s court filing, Silt said, “The county has not maintained and repaired the roads to date … other than periodic snowplowing. The town contacted the county on numerous occasions. The county ignored the town’s requests.”Repairs on the approximately five miles of roads through the subdivision could run into the millions of dollars.Court records also include a letter from county road and bridge supervisor Marvin Stephens dated Nov. 29, 2006, who said the county would no longer provide snowplowing and sanding on those roads.Records also include a Sept. 18, 2006 memo to Silt from the county terminating the IGA.In its answer to the complaint, signed by County Commissioner John Martin, the county said it was able to end the IGA “without justification” per the terms of the IGA. Further, it said the IGA no longer served its original purpose.”It’s original intent was to allow rapid annexation of the Stillwater PUD into the town of Silt and address road development issues within the town as that project quickly developed,” the response said.The county entered into the agreement because the then-town manager said he expected the development to proceed quickly, within months of the agreement.But Stillwater still has not been developed. “It would seem appropriate that this area should be de-annexed and again become part of unincorporated Garfield County,” the response noted. Silt Mayor Dave Moore said the town was considering just such a move. But in the meantime, and despite the fact that Stillwater has yet to see a house built, “We feel this (has not) excused them from their obligation,” he said. The IGA “was written, signed and violated by them … They haven’t acted in good faith and they haven’t acted as good neighbors.”Although he said he could not comment on pending litigation, County Commissioner Larry McCown said the roads have been “snow-plowed … the potholes fixed for almost 10 years.”Litigation in contract cases such as these can be a long process and this one is just getting stated.”We’re in the early stages of litigation,” said county attorney Don DeFord.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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Recreation and travel in Glenwood Canyon will be much more hazardous due to the potential rockfall and debris flows originating from destabilized ground, rock and weakened trees burned by the Grizzly Creek Fire last summer.