From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 51 - March 16, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

LaBarge road hearing continued

by Cat Urbigkit

On Friday, Sublette County Commissioners held a public hearing on the establishment of the LaBarge Creek Road through adverse possession of a right-of-way through lands owned by Bill Busbice’s Hunter Farms and Timber.

County Clerk Mary Lankford said although written objections to the action were due in her office prior to the hearing, no such objections had been received.

Commission Chair Betty Fear said Busbice had contacted her and expressed that he was “very concerned” about the commission taking the roadway via adverse possession. She noted that at a meeting on the road last year, Busbice had indicated his willingness to work with agencies in designating the existing roadway a county road, but items identified during that meeting have not yet been addressed, including promises for maintaining the road.

Fear explained that her recollection was that although Sublette County would own the road right-of-way, Lincoln County would handle road maintenance. Fear said since speaking with Busbice, she had contacted Lincoln County Commissioners to request that they contact Busbice to discuss that issue.

Other issues identified by Busbice included fencing the roadway, applying a hard surface and installing signs, Fear said.

“Sublette County is not going to pay for fencing,” Fear said, although the county will certainly take care of signage on the road. As for the hard surface, Fear said dust control is possible, but there is no guarantee of a hard surface.

Fear said in her view, commissioners from the two counties should meet to come up with a maintenance agreement. County Surveyor Paul Scherbel said he would begin drafting such a written agreement.

Fear said that Busbice expressed his opposition to the county proceeding with the adverse possession, and added that she indicated to him that the county wouldn’t stop the proceeding without a signed easement agreement in hand from Busbice. Fear noted Busbice threatened litigation in the matter.

Commissioner Bill Cramer indicated that Busbice has had time to respond to the county’s request for a right-of-way, but hasn’t offered an agreement.

“He’s had plenty of time to figure this out,” Cramer said. “It’s time to step up and do it.”

Cramer made a motion Friday to pass a resolution taking the road through adverse possession, but neither Fear nor Commissioner John Linn supported the motion, so it died.

Linn was successful at getting the issue tabled until the commission’s next meeting, on March 21. Fear said she would contact Busbice about the issue again.

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