Pulling up stakes on property rights

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When would-be summer camp owner Douglas Weers didn't show up to the Moffat County commissioners' meeting Tuesday, was anybody surprised?

No one could blame Weers for his no-show after he had to put up with the arbitrary behavior of the county commissioners when they "approved" his conditional use permit for the summer camp.

His neighbors threw up superficial protests to the man's proposal but there were a lot of them and they were loud.

The commissioners saw them, heard them and gave them what they wanted.

Weers' neighbors said there would be trespassing violations, ignoring that trespassing laws are already in place to deal with such transgressions.

But, the neighbors protested, there's going to be an unreasonable increase in traffic. That's what the traffic study shows. Well, OK, so there isn't really a traffic study.

The noise level will be unbearable, the neighbors said (grasping at one of the few straws left).

And, they complained, Weers won't keep his driveway properly snow plowed for the summer campers. Huh?

The complaints were dubious at best, but in this case the quantity of complaints won out over quality. The commissioners approved the conditional use permit, but they imposed restraints that make it impossible to establish the camp. And they approved it unanimously, despite one of the commissioners having a clear conflict of interest. Commissioner Les Hampton said he voted on the issue even though he lives in the area of the proposed summer camp, telling Weers he was "protecting (Weers') property rights." Our guess is Weers doesn't need any more of the board's "protection." The fact of the matter is Hampton has a conflict of interest and ethically, there is no valid reason for his decision to cast a vote.

Weers wanted to offer a summer camp for inner city kids who likely won't get another chance to spend time on a Colorado ranch, but commissioners greased the squeaky wheel. Sadly, this decision is a warning to all Moffat County residents, including Mr. Weers' neighbors. Your property rights do not stretch as far as your boundaries as far as the commissioners are concerned, they end where your neighbors' vocal chords begin.

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