Volume 7, Number 52 - March 20, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
by Tiffany Turner
During the winter months in Sublette County, many find themselves plowed in, not plowed out or find that a warm day has created an ice rink just past their driveway.
Maintenance and consistent upkeep can only do so much to handle the large amounts of snow and frequently changing weather conditions. For those living just southeast of Pinedale in the area most commonly referred to as “Bargerville” who haven’t purchased their property within the High Meadow Ranches, a subdivision in the Barger area with a homeowner’s association, they have roads that no singular entity is responsible for the upkeep. In fact, when purchasing their property, it was stated that there would be no road maintenance. This leaves the care and safety of the thoroughfare in the hands of individual property owners with no monetary funding for maintaining or repairing. The lack of any responsible party for the roads shows, especially during the winter months, in the ruts, drifts and standing water that develops as the season progresses.
One possible solution for this situation is the newly created Class II roads program instated this year by the Sublette County Commissioners (SCC). The SCC set aside funds totaling $1.5 million that can be applied for on roads within the county that are not currently county roads, so long as money granted once the project has been accepted into the program is spent to bring the roads up to current county specifications for the program. The county will then take over the maintenance of the roads. “I initiated this program to help the rural population,” SCC Chairman Bill Cramer said. “That’s the intent of Class II roads.”
Roads within the county wishing to participate in the program go through an application process where they must be approved based on estimates for the work and what bringing the current road into county specifications would entail.
After accepting the project into the program, a survey by Rio Verde Engineering showed that the current physical road did not follow the granted easement originally given for the roadway.
“We found out from Mark Eatinger (Rio Verde Engineering) that the easement on the plat is not where the road is currently located,” Cramer said. According to Cramer, the Class II roads project is strictly a voluntary program that must be agreed upon in writing by everyone with property on the road that is granting the easement.
While everyone on Meadowlark Lane had agreed to the road, the easement not equaling the current road position meant everyone affected would have to sign an amended plat granting the county an easement where the road is actually located. Due to this affecting actual property, one neighbor on Meadowlark requested the county reimburse him for property lost by the misplaced road.
“They needed to grant the easement to the county so that it could become a Class II road,” Cramer said. “(Dwight Mickey) is the only one I’m aware of that came to a meeting and requested the commission pay him.”
The SCC unanimously agreed at that meeting the commission and Class II roads project would not set the precedent of reimbursing citizens of the county wishing to participate in the Class II roads project for a road not following the easement.
“I told him that it is not the purpose of the Class II roads program to cure old problems like that,” Cramer said. “The road is where it is. If we do it with him, we do it with everyone herein.”
“It is not (the purpose of the program) to compensate people for things we did not create,” he added. According to Cramer, money was left allocated for the project until June 30, but until everyone affected by the easement change agreed to sign an amended plat, the project could not progress any further.
According to Tim Wells, president of the High Meadow Ranches (HMR) homeowners association, Mickey is now willing to sign the amended plat, as the HMR agreed to pay the current going rate for the amount of property Mickey would be losing in the moving of the easement. Wells met with the SCC at their Tuesday meeting.
According to Wells, the subdivision is accepting donations from residents to help pay the money given to Mickey, but to begin with the homeowners associations for HMR has fronted the money. Wells stated that Meadowlark is the main access to their development and therefore important to them that it be maintained.
“If we can get Meadowlark done, which is the worst part... my priority would be Meadowlark,” Wells said. “(Mickey) was the most affected. Everybody’s agreed to just get the road fixed.”
Rio Verde Engineer Aaron Seehafer agreed to get the amended plat underway so the project could begin moving forward again. “We’re still about three month out, I think,” Seehafer said. According to Seehafer, the soonest the project could go out to bid is in June, and that is if everything remained on course throughout the coming months, such as getting the amended plat signed quickly.
“We’ll do the plat and have the appropriate people sign it,” Wells said. “As soon as its ready I’ll go have people sign it.”
Photo credits: Tiffany Turner, Tiffany Turner
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