March 29, 2023 |

Photo – Cherokee Road Annex Intent Public Notice – Courtesy Carbon County Road and Bridge

Cherokee Road is slated to become Carbon County’s newest officially designated road.

County Officials have been working for 24 years to annex Cherokee Road. The private access road, west of Rawlins, was established by the developer when the area was subdivided for housing in the 1970’s.

The process to bring the private road under the county umbrella began in 1999. At the time, easements were obtained from landowners, but were never filed.

From 2005 to the present, the county has continued to maintain the road, which is now an officially established school bus route. In that time, the county never passed a resolution formally adopting the road. To continue having county road crews maintain the stretch of dirt track, the county has begun the process to legally annex it as County Road 451.

The annexation process is not fast or easy. County roads must be 60 feet wide and 30 feet on either side of the center of the road. To ensure County Road 451 meets the width standard, property owners with land adjacent to the proposed road may lose a section of their land.

To properly compensate landowners, the county contracted with an outside consultant to perform a land appraisal on the disputed property.

At last Tuesday’s Board of Carbon County Commissioners meeting, County Attorney Ashley Davis said the appraisal, which was needed before moving forward with the annexation, has been received. She asked the commissioners to allow her to set up a hearing with landowners.

The legal hearing would give affected landowners a chance to show how the creation of the county road would negatively impact their property value. Attorney Davis said the board isn’t beholden to using the amounts set in the appraisal.

Attorney Davis said a hearing examiner would be present to conduct the meeting. Davis said a month’s notice would be needed to ensure everyone affected by the Cherokee Road annexation was made aware.

Earlier in the year, the county placed an ad in the local newspaper informing the public about its intentions. Detailed measurements were given for each section of the proposed county road. Landowners were given until February 3rd to file an objection or damage claim.

Sharon Watson owns a home on Cherokee Road. Watson said the survey company placed marker posts 10 feet from the edge of her property. She asked the commission if her property line would end at the marker or the middle of the road. Attorney Davis said Watson already has an easement agreement with the county for 20 feet of her land along the roadway. Davis said she thought the marker designated the extra 10 feet. The county attorney said the additional property required is inside an already established easement.

Watson asked how the value of her property was established. Attorney Davis said the survey company took into consideration the land Watson already allowed the county to use and deducted it from the total.

Watson said she knew how much overall land she would be losing to the county but wasn’t sure what the value was. Attorney Davis said the survey company revisited land which was disputed before the February 3rd deadline.

Watson said she heard the county would conduct a completely new survey. The commissioners said that was not true. Attorney Davis said the marker posts are in the correct place.

Watson asked if it was too late to file a damage claim with the county. Attorney Davis said it was up to the commissioners if they would entertain more claims so long after the deadline. Commission Chairwoman Sue Jones said the time has passed.

Watson said she really wasn’t too concerned about the property since she would no longer be paying taxes on it. She confirmed the county was not redoing the survey and sat down.

Another Cherokee Road resident, Arturo Soto, said he hadn’t received written notice about the damage claim deadline. He said he understood he was too late to file a claim, but said he has metal fencing on the property that would need to be removed. Soto asked the board what his options were. Attorney Davis said he wouldn’t need to do anything until after the road was formally adopted.

Soto asked if removing and relocating the fencing on his property would fall on him if the road was annexed. Chairwoman Jones confirmed that Soto would be responsible for his fence.

The commissioners asked attorney Davis if she needed a motion to allow her to arrange a hearing between the landowners and the county. Davis said she needed a date before a motion could be made. She said she would consult with the hearing examiner to determine when the meeting could occur. More information should be available by the next county commissioner’s meeting on April 4th.

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