From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 6 - May 4, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

County “takes” road

by Cat Urbigkit

The Sublette County Commission met Tuesday, May 2, for its regular business meeting, first conducting a public hearing on condemnation of property through the Bill Busbice place for the LaBarge Creek Road.

At the start of the hearing, Commissioner Bill Cramer moved “that we take by adverse possession” the LaBarge Creek Road as it traverses property belonging to Busbice. Commissioner John Linn seconded the motion for discussion.

Property owner Linda Zager questioned the commission, “Are we starting on the bottom and working our way up the creek?”

Commissioner Betty Fear responded, “Actually, we are working our way up,” adding that the commission has been working under the assumption that it would be able to negotiate an agreement with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the road as it crosses Zager’s property, since Zager has donatedan easement to RMEF.

Zager said, “I’m willing to negotiate.”

Bill Mytton of the RMEF’s Missoula, Mont., office told the commission that his organization stands in opposition to the easement on the Zager property as originally proposed by the county, since the proposal called for a 100-foot easement and noted that the road may be paved in the future.

RMEF is requesting the county “cease and desist” any formal action to take an easement through the RMEF/Zager property, Mytton said.

Zager agreed, “100 feet is excessive,” but added that she was willing to talk about a 60-foot easement.

The commission noted that although the county was requesting a 100-foot easement, under the adverse possession statute, all the county could take is 66 feet.

Linn urged Zager and Mytton, “If you’re willing to get this settled ... I’d consider it strongly.”

Mytton said his organization would be interested in a more rustic-type access.

“We are willing to sit down and negotiate,” Mytton said.

When it came time for the vote, Cramer voted to take the easement, but Linn delayed his vote while he contemplated the issue, finally voting against it. Fear broke the tie with her vote in support, so the county officially took the roadway.

“I don’t like adverse possession, but in this case I’ll do it” Cramer said.

“I don’t like it either,” Fear added.

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