Road dispute settled

After a five-year dispute, the "road to nowhere" in Browns Park is officially a Moffat County road, County Attorney Kathleen Taylor announced Tuesday.

Taylor told the Moffat County commissioners at their regular meeting that the dispute between the county and James and Kathy Bassett concerning Moffat County Road 60 A was settled.

Since 2001, the Bassetts have argued that the half-mile stretch of road was a private driveway. Kathy Basset called it "the road to nowhere" because only a few people use the road. The Bassetts placed a gate across the road, closing it to public use.

Commissioners argued that the road was a public right of way and their lawyer, R. A. Santarelli of Almont, presented old maps to show the road belonged to the county.

Moffat County Judge Mary Lynne James ruled in favor of the county in the dispute in November.

The case went to court in November 2004.

Taylor said she waited to announce the result of the case until Tuesday because the Bassetts had until last week to appeal the judge's decision.

The Bassetts, who did not return phone calls Tuesday, did not appeal the court's decision.

At Tuesday's meeting, commissioners said they had two primary concerns about Moffat County Road 60 A.

First, by closing off the road, the Bassetts cut off other property owners' access to their own property, Commissioner Darryl Steele said.

Merlin Burton, Marvin Bur--ton and Dorothy Boberg, who own property near the Bassetts and use the road to access their property, were listed as co-defendants in the case.

Commissioners also were worried that if the Bassetts were allowed to close Moffat County Road 60 A, other landowners would follow suit and put fences across different county roads, Steele said.

"We didn't want this to set a precedent," Steele said.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to pay some of the costs associated with the case, including $485 for a survey of the road.

Commissioners also voted to pay $1,244 to reimburse Steele and three former county commissioners for costs associated with a claim the Bassetts filed against the commissioners' public officials bonds.

Taylor said the county isn't sure what the financial cost of the case will be.

Santarelli has not sent the county a final bill for his services, Taylor said.

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

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