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Front Page » March 29, 2011 » Carbon County News » Good fences make good neighbors, but...
Published 1,281 days ago

Good fences make good neighbors, but...


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By KEVIN SCANNELL
Sun Advocate reporter

There's an old saying in a poem by Robert Frost that says, "Good fences make good neighbors." But with one local example, that may not be the case.

A fence blocking a trail was the topic of debate during an East Carbon City council meeting last week. Duane Steele, an East Carbon resident who owns property near the trail, brought up the topic to the city council, saying he felt that the fencing, which was installed about three or four months ago, was illegally put in.

"It's [the trail] being used for enjoyment," Steele explained. "The road should not be fenced off."

Steele said that the trail was created many years ago and served a few purposes including having a road for fire fighters to reach possible wildfires and that the trail was used as an access road that was put in by the city back decades ago when it was known as Dragerton.

"You took away from the city," Steele said to the city council.

East Carbon City Mayor Orlando LaFontaine said that the city did not put the fence up blocking access to the trail. The fence was originally put into place about three or four months ago and Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) paid to have the fence put up, LaFontaine said.

Since the fence was installed, LaFontaine said that Steele has been the only city resident who has come forward and expressed displeasure about the fence. LaFontaine also said that the was put in to appease landowners along the trail.

"The fencing was put up to try and protect residents and their property," LaFontaine explained.

Jeremy Humes, East Carbon City attorney, said he needed to research the matter more extensively before giving his legal opinion for the council but he did say that having no marking on the fence on who put it up was a cause for concern.

At least one resident who owns property along the trail said the city approached them about putting in fencing on the trail. Elsie Parker, an East Carbon resident who owns property along the trail, said she never approached the city with any problems about the trail but that the city came to her to discuss putting in a fence. She said she was told that the fence was being put up to help protect her property.

Parker acknowledged that over the years there have been instances of people causing problems on and near her property, but she decided not to do anything about it. The fence was installed right on the edge of her property and that nothing was put into writing from the city or IPA about who is responsible if anything happened or someone got hurt, Parker said.

Steele said that he didn't have a problem with property owners putting fencing along their property lines and that he was not fighting to have the trails opened for ATV riders.

"I'm fighting this for the roads," he said

As quickly as the fence was discussed during the city council meeting, it has since been taken down. On Friday morning the fence was no longer blocking the trail path.

Steele said that two poles were buried on each side of the trail and that two pieces of wire were connected with the poles with the highest wire being about four feet above the ground.

"I was worried that someone was going to get hurt," Steele said noting that depending upon the visibility while on the trail, it could have presented a dangerous situation. "It was an accident waiting to happen."

Steele said he has used the trail since he was a child and many of his family members have also grown up utilizing the trail.

"I'm very happy with that decision," Steele said. "My intent was to get the fence taken down so people can use the roads out there as they have been using for over 50 years."

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March 29, 2011
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