Letter: Damaging land use at CRMS | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Damaging land use at CRMS

John B. Armstrong

For the average Garfield County resident, the dispute between the Colorado Rocky Mountain School near Carbondale and local citizens over a right of way is of little concern. In the big picture, the decision of the county commissioners this spring could set a precedent for land use throughout Garfield County.

Last June, through a lengthy public process, the commissioners voted 2-1 not to vacate County Road 106 through CRMS. The 100-year-old road passes through the school’s campus and is already restricted to pedestrian and bicycle use. The school wants to prohibit public access on the road and right of way.

This spring, the school received a Garfield County road and bridge permit and relocated one of its driveways that connects to the county road. In defiance of the county commissioners’ decision of 2014, the school then blocked the road and right of way with an earthen berm and a wooden fence. In the middle of the county road, the school built a concrete foundation for its school sign.

In an even more brazen move, the school re-routed the county road onto its private property. Any citizen following the road will now be trespassing onto CRMS land.

No one in community development or on the board of county commissioners was aware of the road manipulation except for Commissioner Jankovsky. Jankovsky defends the schools action and had supported vacating the road in 2014. In a public meeting, Commissioner Martin questioned the legality of the school closing the road and the lack of permitting and public process.

The Board of County Commissioners is now thrust into a difficult and extremely awkward position.

Can a well-endowed private entity defy the decision of the Board of County Commissioners and block a county right of way and reroute a county road? If CRMS succeeds, the result is nothing less than a takings of a county public asset. The result of this decision may set a precedent for land use throughout all of Garfield County. A commissioners meeting is set for May 4.

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