Vacate or not to vacate


TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Commissioners received a petition to create a county road and a recommendation to vacate a county road during their Tuesday, May
2 meeting.
The petition to create a county road concerns a stretch of Four Corners Road in a southern corner of the county and eventually leads into Laramie County. For many years, the Goshen County Road and Bridge department maintained all of the Four Corners Road, but recently discovered that part of the road had never actually been designated as a county road.
On the advice of the county attorney’s office, the department decided a few months ago to no longer maintain that section of Four Corners Road not designated as a county road due to liability issues that could be associated with plowing, grading and repairing, what was essentially, a private road.
As soon as that decision was made several of the property owners along Four Corners Road voiced their concerns about losing county maintenance of the road and on Tuesday the commissioners were presented with a petition to incorporate that section of the road that is not a county road into the Goshen County county road system.
Alan Kirkbride, one of the landowners along the Four Corners Road, brought the petition to the commissioners with the signatures of 41 other landowners in the area. Wyoming statute only requires five signatures and signatories included captains from four of the fire districts, Hawk Springs, LaGrange, Meridan and Midway, that would respond to emergencies in the area.
“That road is used a lot,” Kirkbride explained. “We want to make sure that access can be properly maintained because there are a few places where it will drift four feet or more during a storm. Fire, ambulance, UPS, FedEx and the mail service all need to be able to access that road.
“We don’t need less roads in that area.”
The section of the road described in the petition is between Laramie County Road 143 and a substation, approximately three miles north.
Though the petitioners asked that the road remain right where it is now located, road and bridge supervisor Jerry Hort advised there were a few changes that could be made along the petitioned strip of road that would help travel during the winter.
Once the petition is filed with the county clerk, the county surveyor reviews the petition, determines the general description of the current road and then does a survey to finalize a legal description of the road.
“We need to know exactly where the road is and who it actually impacts,” saidGoshen County Assistant County Attorney Dana Lent, “And then the surveyor can suggest an alternative (if there is one) for its best and most expeditious placement.”
The final step would be for the commissioners to rule to either make the described section of Four Corners Road a county road or to deny the petition. However, should any affected party disagree with the commissioners’ determination, the issue would be referred to district court.
After the discussion about the Four Corners petition, Goshen County Surveyor Bob Taylor, recommended to the commissioners that they vacate that part of county road 100 that extends into the Pine Ridge development, about six miles north of Fort Laramie.
“I’ve been in contact with the homeowners association at Pine Ridge and I believe we need to vacate that road,” Taylor explained. “But I think the only way we can get that done is for the commissioners to file your own petition to vacate that road.”
“And that is my recommendation that we get the wheels turning.”
Commissioner Wally Wolski asked Taylor why, if the homeowners don’t want county road 100 going part way through the development, don’t they file the paperwork to have the road vacated.
“Wouldn’t it be better to have a formal letter coming to us from (the association) stating that they want to do this rather than a verbal contact with you. It just seems that this is not a very formal process.”
“It is just a very short piece of road, about a half mile long,” Taylor explained. “And the board of the Pine Ridge Homeowners Association is unlikely to begin [the petition process].
“And I don’t think we want the liability for any of the roads with that subdivision. We would then have to bring that road up to the standard of a safe, public road, and I don’t think we want to bear that expense. Especially when they don’t want it.”
Commissioner John Ellis pointed out if the commissioners initiated the vacation petition and there was a landowner that did not want the road vacated, that would put the commissioners in the middle of a dispute they started.
The discussion ended with Lent agreeing to send a letter to the Pine Ridge landowners describing what was being proposed and if any of them would be averse to vacating the road.
In other business:
• Goshen County Planner Gary Childs said he met with a representative from EDP Renewables North America LLC regarding the county wind energy regulations. Childs told the commissioners that EDP is a large and serious developer of wind energy in the United States, with farms in 12 states, Canada and Mexico, and is looking at developing a 250 megawatt farm in Wyoming, and is considering
Goshen County.
The county’s wind energy regulations have not yet been finalized, but a public hearing on the regulations is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the commissioners’ chamber. A copy of the proposed regulations can be picked up at the county
clerk’s office.
• The next scheduled meeting of the Goshen County Commissioners is Tuesday, May 18 at 9 a.m. at the county courthouse.

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