Westbank doormat of Garfield County
What’s going on here? First the county files a lawsuit to stop the illegal road built by Prehm Ranch that joins Westbank. Next, they ask Westbank to join them with their lawsuit. The county stands by and lets Westbank fight the battle. The Westbank homeowner treasury gets depleted for legal fees and has to double homeowner fees to cover normal operating costs. A county commissioner then states, “We don’t want people north of DeBeque paying for a lawsuit in Westbank.”
Excuse me? Why did they file the initial lawsuit in the first place? Who’s on first here?
The commissioners then vote 2-1 to vacate the right of way crossing Prehm Ranch. The road stays operational, including commercial fishing boats passing through Westbank, which wasn’t supposed to happen according to a settlement that was never consummated. Westbank is the big loser.
Now, due to pressure from the city of Glenwood Springs and special interest groups, the county flip-flops (again) and wants to reopen (and possibly “unvacate”) the road issue to allow hiking, biking, Rollerblades, skateboards, cross-country skiing, joggers, pet walking, etc. This is all at the expense of a 30-year-old, built-out subdivision of 100 homes and families. Some front door steps are 20 yards from the right of way.
How many of the special interest people would want that scene in their front yard? If you haven’t experienced the carnival mini-Central Park atmosphere of the Glenwood Canyon bike path on a weekend, take a look for yourself. The only difference is no one lives there!
In addition to the illegal joining of two subdivisions, with traffic number settlement wording no one seems to agree with, we now are looking at 24 hours a day, seven days a week pedestrian and wheeled access. This means a definite potential increase of vandalism and burglary (especially at night), dogs crapping on our lawns, an increase of trash and littering and property devaluation. Pretty good deal, huh? For who?
Also, the travel portion of Westbank Road and Oak Lane is only 22-26 feet wide with no shoulder. Two vehicles passing in opposite directions would run anyone off the road, cause serious injury or worse. That means a separate travel lane for the special interest people. Depending on path alignment, some Westbank homeowners will lose their decorative gates, trees, shrubs, mailboxes, lightposts, lawns and sprinkler laterals. Driveway approaches would have to be modified and utility pedestals relocated. The county has no money to spend for a lawsuit to fight Prehm Ranch, but money for this? What’s wrong with this picture?
What’s the answer? The county should stand up to their responsibility, enforce their original unanimous decision and close down the Prehm Ranch illegal road that Prehm developers built for their south access through Westbank.
If a “bike path” is so important, with regard to people it will impact most, condemn a 10-foot wide strip of land from the airport to County Road 109 along the Roaring Fork River and put it there. The aesthetics would be awesome, it would be out of the way, safer and everyone would benefit. Let’s get on with it. This should not be a re-election and retirement project.
Dave and Rosella Leety
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