County focusing on resolving property line issue at Scofield
For years, questions about property lines in the Bolotas subdivision on the east side of Scofield Reservoir has plagued residents, Carbon County and finance or mortgage companies.
But a solution to the problem that has existed since the 1960s appears to have been formulated at Tuesday's regular meeting of the county's planning and zoning board.
The county decided to work with home owners to establish historical boundaries instead of relying on surveys which indicate the property was divided improperly when the subdivision was developed.
"We have been waiting for the federal government to send us survey information on the new marker officials had the United States Bureau of Land Management place during a recent survey," pointed out county zoning and planning director Dave Levanger at the meeting.
"But even though we have had conversations with BOR about it and officials have said they would send it, we haven't seen it. So we have gone ahead, with the county commission's approval, and are referencing both the new and old survey markers to set up these new boundaries," added Levanger.
When the subdivision was set up in the early 1960s, the project was done by the developers and the parcels - not the lots - were created by deeds. No subdivision was officially approved or recorded in the area.
The original Bolotas deeds gave "a right of way forever for ingress and egress to and from the tract of land herein conveyed over such portion of the lands now owned by the grantors as may be necessary to have access to and from the high water mark of Scofield Reservoir."
But the grantors deeded all land available for access to the lake to several property owners in the area. The situation has created an access problem for people who do not live on the lake's shore.
A question about the actual high water level of the reservoir also came under discussion at the meeting.
"According to BOR, that level is set at 7,636," said Commissioner Mike Milovich, county government's representative on the zoning board. "That measures to the top of the dam, where the road is. But that's much too high."
However, local officials indicated that at least the first row of cabins adjacent to the lake would be wiped out in the event the water reached the 7,636 foot mark.
"They may say that's what it is, but the quad map says the high level is 7,618," stated Levanger.
The situation has caused considerable concern, particularly for county engineer Evan Hansen who has been doing the surveying. Property owners with lake shore lots want to know how far property extends into the reservoir, especially when the water level is low.
"We are concerned that people will go down there by the water and camp, even though it is on our property," said landowner in the subdivision Paul Cook. "We need to know what is ours and what isn't."
At the end of the discussion, the problem seemed to be resolved when Levanger passed out a proposal on remedying the situation.
The detailed property line proposal appeared to gain approval from the Bolotas subdivision landowners present at the meeting.
The following points are made in the subdivision historical property boundary plan:
The new plat will have the effect of quieting title to the lands involved, as agreed to by the landowners.
The action simply recognizes the "lot" improvements as they are on the ground.
The proposal recognizes the property lines as being where people thought they were.
The new plat will have the effect of establishing in perpetuity building lots for the owners.
The proposed action will allow property owners in the subdivision to be able to sell and buy lots with no problems.
Establishing permanent boundaries for the building lots will also ensure that mortgage companies will be more comfortable with providing financing and loans for property in the subdivision.
The county's engineering and planning departments have assisted and will assist establishing the lines between existing dwellings as directed and approved by landowners.
The dwellings are shown on the lots. Lines run between buildings so the structures will not encroach on other lots.
The lots will fit existing roads.
The roadways will remain the private property of Spears Gardner Enterprises and will not be maintained by Carbon County.
The county expects an organization of homeowners in the area to take care of the maintenance of the existing roads.
All existing building setbacks, regardless of location, will be "grandfathered" into the plan.
But the setback for future buildings will be five feet, as designated by the Scofield Lake zone approved on March 19 by the county commission.
Whenever possible, the lots in the subdivision will be as wide and as deep as originally configured.
The planning and zoning board determined that the high water mark should be set at 7,620 feet.
The 7,620 level will be located at approximately 30 inches above the bottom of the concrete spillway on the dam at Scofield Reservoir.
Residents will have to approach Spears Gardner Enterprises regarding obtaining parcels of property to provide ready access to the lake.
Landowners wishing to claim more property closer to the reservoir will have to take separate action.
The planning and zoning board will submit the recommendations to the county commission.
The property line proposal is tentatively expected to be included as a public hearing on the county commission's Oct. 15 meeting agenda.