Memorial policy set

Moffat County officials this week instituted a new policy for roadside memorials.

The policy, which county commissioners unanimously signed at Tuesday's meeting, requires that memorials be removed within five years and are less than 3 feet wide and 3 feet high.

The policy also gives the Moffat County Road and Bridge Department authority over where memorials may be placed.

Linda DeRose, manager of the Road and Bridge Department, said officials earlier this month decided to make the policy when they realized they didn't have one.

After a Baggs, Wyo., man died on Moffat County Road 4 in December, his family wanted to put a memorial near the highway in his honor.

But when the man's family asked the Road and Bridge Department about putting up a memorial, department officials realized they didn't have a policy for reference.

"This was the first time we ever came across it," DeRose said.

Roadside memorials are rare near county roads, DeRose said. Usually, residents put up the memorials without first asking the county.

The county created the policy because it wanted to ensure that the memorials are safe, not because it wanted to discourage people from creating roadside memorials, DeRose said.

The county doesn't have plans to remove existing memorials, she said.

The only memorial DeRose said she knew of on a county road was near the intersection of Moffat County Roads 7 and 3. But it's no longer there.

The county wants the memorials removed within five years because people rarely maintain them beyond that, DeRose said.

DeRose said she isn't certain what officials will do about roadside memorials in the county that already exist but don't meet county specifications.

The county's roadside memorial policy only applies to county roads. The Colorado Department of Transportation has a policy for memorials on state highways.

The department discourages roadside memorials but will install memorial signs for $100.

Although the state discourages the memorials, Stacey Stegman, a department spokeswoman, said removing memorials isn't a high priority.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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