From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 2 - April 11, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Harpers defeated again

by Sheri Nolan & Cat Urbigkit

Harpers defeated again

The second reading of the town ordinance proposing to vacate Maxwell Street as it passes through Harper’s Park was on the agenda at the Marbleton Town Council meeting Monday night, but a slam-dunk it most certainly wasn’t.

The council killed the ordinance on second reading, after several council members said they had been getting too much public comment from the community about the issue.

The council instead proposed to enter into a written agreement with Scott and Robin Harper. That agreement, with an annual term, would allow the Harpers use of the area, but the idea was flatly rejected by the Harpers.

In an interview after the meeting, Scott Harper said, "Why should I have to lease anything that I feel we already own?"

Robin Harper, who was in attendance at the council meeting, was asked by Mayor Jim Robinson if this type of agreement was even in the realm of what the Harpers would settle for. She replied that a similar idea had been proposed by a prior mayor and the Harpers rejected the idea at that time as well because the Harpers were willing to take their chances and see what rights they actually had to full ownership of the property.

The problem is that Maxwell Street, a platted street, runs through the Harpers’ mobile home and RV Park.

But Maxwell Street, as it runs through Harper’s Park, is not visible. Instead, development of the park has proceeded since the Harpers purchased the block of land in 1995. What the town council recognizes as a street actually consists of a parking lot, several mobile homes and RV lots, as well as an RV dump and a fence.

Town officials have attempted to have the Harpers remove anything of theirs encroaching on the street, but the Harpers have refused, disputing the town’s ownership.

The Harpers possess title insurance documents to the land, dating as far back as 1915 and 1951, showing that the land has been sold in the past as a single unit, "including all streets and alleyways."

Last spring, the town council sent a letter to the Harpers ordering them to remove their possessions from Maxwell Street as it passes through Harper’s Park within 60 days, but later rescinded the order after the Harpers presented a 1951 court order confirming that the Harper property has been sold as one intact unit, "including the streets and alleys," with the exception of Highway 189.

The council eventually began the process to vacate the street (which would relinquish the town’s claim to the street) as it passes through Harpers’, until Monday night’s reversal.

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