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 blatant arbitrary behavior of the county commissioners when they "approved" his conditional use permit for the summer camp.

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

The commissioners saw them, heard them and ran for cover.

Weers' neighbors said there would be trespassing violations, so we had better prohibit the camp because we don't have trespassing laws? Well, OK, so we have trespassing laws.

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

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

And Weers won't keep his driveway properly snow plowed for the summer campers (one more straw).

The commissioners heard these protests and caved, approving a conditional use permit with such restraints that it would be impossible to establish a 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 despite his conflict of interest, telling Weers he was protecting Weers' property rights. Our guess is that Mr. Weers has had about enough of the board's "protection," thank you very much. The fact of the matter is a conflict of interest is a conflict of interest and ethical violations are committed when a vote is cast either way.

The bottom line is that the commission greased the noisy wheel, regardless of the relevance of that noise. And this should serve as 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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