Truce is proposed in dispute over road |

Truce is proposed in dispute over road

A dispute over a road leading from the Prehm Ranch development through Westbank may be resolved when the Garfield County commissioners consider a court settlement April 8.

Prehm Ranch developers Marlin Colorado Ltd. want to build the road through to Westbank.

In August, the commissioners passed a resolution to vacate a 60-foot-wide easement extending from Oak Lane in Westbank to the property boundary of Prehm Ranch.

The Westbank homeowners association petitioned the commissioners to stop the road because they feared that building Oak Lane through to Prehm Ranch would bring unwanted traffic through their quiet neighborhood.

On the other side of the dispute, Marlin Colorado’s attorney, Rick Neiley of Aspen, has argued that the Westbank access would save people driving time to Highway 82.

In September 2001, the developer constructed a road through the Prehm Ranch boundary fence and across a vacant lot in Westbank, stopping just short of Oak Lane.

In response, the Westbank homeowners association and the county commissioners sued Marlin Colorado Ltd. for building a road not approved by the county. Homeowners approved a proposed settlement in January, according to Steve Beattie, attorney for Westbank and a Westbank resident. The deal calls for limiting access to eight Prehm Ranch lots, Beattie said. The road must be gated and only 27 cars will be allowed to use the road each day.

In addition, Westbank and Prehm Ranch will both deed land to form a 10-foot wide swath of open space to be a buffer between the two properties.

The county commissioners must approve the settlement before it can take effect.

Three-quarters of the Westbank homeowners voted to accept the settlement, Beattie said. But a few are still strongly opposed, notably people who live on Oak Lane.

“We live at the end of Oak Lane,” said Christine Page. “Our biggest concern is the legality of the road. People have been driving through, especially on weekends. Last Friday and Saturday I’ll bet there were 20 cars.

“We bought here one and a half years ago. We have five kids with a sixth baby due in a week. Our children are out here all the time,” she said.

The cars that are now using the road go fast, she added. “None of us here want the Prehm Ranch to access their property via our neighborhood.”

“A number of Westbank homeowners continue to apply the Nancy Reagan philosophy of `Just say no,’ hoping Marlin Ltd. will go away,” Beattie said. “I respect their views as a minority contingent in Westbank.”

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