Commissioners deny request to vacate part of street

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Routt County planning commissioners unanimously denied a request to vacate a 50-foot stretch of a street at the west edge of Hahn's Peak Village, falling in line with the 1995 decision of Routt County commissioners concerning a similar request.

Reasons for denying the request included that the land could be important for a future community water and sewer system, and a future road.

The street, which borders the west boundary of the village, was platted along with the rest of Hahn's Peak Village in 1896. The request to vacate 50 feet of the 80-foot wide right of way along two undeveloped lots to the east came from Gail Garneau and Donald and Barbara Clem, the lot owners.

One reason the request was denied was that a village water and sewer system, which might require the entire 80-foot county right of way, was a priority in the 1999 Upper Elk River Valley Community Plan.

Routt County Planning Commissioner Fred Nichols directed the commission's attention to the plan and said that Hahn's Peak residents as well as county officials have a responsibility to make those goals happen.

Joel Thompson, representing the petitioners, said that 30 feet could be enough for such a system. Routt County Environmental Health Director Michael Zopf said in written comment that he preferred to see the county reserve the entire right of way for the future system.

Another reason planning commissioners said the county should keep the right of way is to prepare for future development and needs for additional access roads.

Routt County Planning Commissioner Bill Taylor said that when he moved to Hayden in 1973, it was a small, undeveloped town. Since then, it has changed greatly, and right of ways or other county holdings that were given up when the town was small ended up costing the town a lot, he said.

Routt County Planner Chad Phillips said that it was inevitable that as the county grows, Hahn's Peak Village also will grow. Once the area is more populated, Placer Street could become important.

There also were questions of whether a 30-foot road would present challenges for emergency responders trying to access residences.

Vacating lots has taken place throughout Hahn's Peak Village since 1953, but some planning commissioners suggested that a plan for the village be outlined before any more vacations took place.

Thompson said the commissioners could choose to vacate only 20 feet of the road, but they decided against that option.

Hahn's Peak Village resident Ken Richards, who lives on Placer Street, disagreed with the proposed lot vacation.

"It's a right of way that's owned by the county, and I just can't see giving it up," Richards said. "Once you give it up, it's gone. You'd have to buy it back, and that's my tax dollars."

Routt County commissioners will make the final decision on the project Dec. 9.

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