County settles trail easement case
by Rose Egelhoff
The Times-Independent
May 17, 2018 | 3572 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Grand County has settled with defendants in the case of disputed ownership over a piece of land near Cinema Court. The case began in 2015, but the dispute goes back to 1974, when property-line changes in the Grand-Vu Park subdivision created “waste parcels” in between the subdivision and what would eventually become Cinema Court apartments.

The dispute became an issue when the city and county wanted to develop a trail that would end on San Miguel Avenue. The trail was to be a connection from Cinema Court to other trails and into town.

The county “planned and developed a trail through the parcel to provide safe access for pedestrians and cyclists to downtown Moab,” attorneys for Grand County stated in a court memorandum. “The county funded and assisted in development and improvement of the trail, which was publicly used on a regular basis for years.”

The defendants in the case however, Andrew Roots and Virginia Shuey, blocked access to the property and the county eventually responded with legal action.

However, before the case went to trial the landowners decided they wanted to settle, Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald told The Times-Independent.

“Two weeks ago we went to formal mediation and worked out the details of the trail connector there ... the pathway corridor will be 12 feet wide ... the county has agreed to build some fencing where [Shuey] wanted it ... to funnel the public onto the trail rather than onto her property,” Fitzgerald said.

The landowners agreed not to cut a shade tree down on the edge of the corridor and the county agreed to grant the landowners easements to use those waste properties for a picnic table or parking in ways that wouldn't interfere with the trail, Fitzgerald said.

“The county and the city, it's part of their master trail plan to connect the city and the county and make sure that that neighborhood on the San Miguel [Avenue] side is connected into the bike path ... this was kind of our only viable option to connect that neighborhood,” Fitzgerald added. “It is important that it allows kids on bikes and families and individuals to connect into the paved trail system without having to bike on the highway. I think it will save lives, children’s lives ... so despite the costs and efforts I think those benefits far outweigh the costs of [the case]. I think that connector will be really beneficial for that neighborhood and the community as a whole.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction. The original story erroneously reported that the city, not the county, had settled with the defendants.

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