Commission discusses encroachment issues
Road restrictions and encroachment issues resurfaced during the county commission last week
The encroachment problem and a gate blocking access to a county road have apparently occurred in Nine Mile Canyon.
"We went out and compared old state road maps with where the landowner has placed his fence and he has placed it in the county's right of way," explained Dave Levanger, county planning and zoning director. "In some places, it is 10 feet into that zone."
Commissioners suggested sending a letter to the landowner to let the individual know about the problem.
But Gene Strate indicated that the county attorney's office had drafted and sent a letter prior to the commission meeting. The landowner's attorney had already responded to the correspondence.
"According to the letter, the county road supervisor told the landowner he could put the fence there," said Strate.
However, Commissioner Bill Krompel, who oversees the county road department, disputed the landowner attorney's claim.
Krompel said road department supervisor Ray Hanson never approved the location of the fence.
According to the commissioner, Hanson talked to the landowner, but never told the individual that a fence could put on the county's right of way.
"There were some road line markers put in. But he was never told that was the edge of the right of way," said Krompel.
Levanger indicated that the fence had been moved right up to the markers.
"We need that width there; that is one of the few places there is a straight area in the canyon," said Levanger. "That narrowing could also cause snow removal problems."
The commissioners decided to work with the landowner to resolve any miscommunication regarding the matter.
But county lawmakers still insisted that the fence must be moved back to the line where the county's right of way ends.
The issue of the locked gate was raised at the meeting by Commissioner Steve Burge.
Burge questioned why a gate had been installed across Minnie Maude Canyon.
"The county didn't install that gate," said Krompel. "We don't know who did it. It was discovered by county personnel just a few weeks ago."
The gate blocks a county road and it is illegal to tie up a public right of way without obtaining permission from Carbon government officials or representatives.
The commission decided to figure out who installed the gate and ask them to remove it, and if the request is not responded to, the county will pull the gate out to ensure access to the road.
The commission also heard from Starene Bynum, a resident of a home on 2500 East near Airport Road. Bynum requested that the county put up some kind of handicapped, speed limit sign on her road because her handicap makes it difficult for her to cross the road to get to her mailbox.
"I have older neighbors who also walk along that road and people drive very fast along there," she said. "I am concerned for all of us."
She also requested that the county look at putting a walkway or sidewalk in the area.
Commissioners asked some questions about the area and agreed that signs could be put in to help slow down the traffic, but that a sidewalk would probably be cost prohibitive since there were only six homes on the road.
Action on two oil and gas leases also highlighted the meeting.
The first lease for ConocoPhillips was approved by the commission. The lease was contracted for five years with the company paying $150 per acre for the lease of 16 acres. The company will also pay a 15 percent royalty for any production from the land.
The second lease, however, came under the scrutiny of the commision. The lease requested by EnergyWest was for a substantial amount of land north of Drunkards Wash. But, the lease only offered 12.5 percent royalties, and a $35 per acre payment.
"We have leased five to six thousand acres in the area and these lands we need to lease from you are just loose ends the county owns because of tax sales," said Dave Terry who was representing the company.
Commissioners noted that they didn't have a problem with the $35 per acre because of the larger amount of land (250 acres) that was being leased, but they did feel the 12.5 percent offered as a royalty was too low.
"We just approved a lease for 15 percent," said Krompel. "I think your company needs to match that."
Terry argued that the difference between the two lands justified a difference in royalties. He said the ground leased by ConocoPhillips will be in production, while the drillings on EnergyWest parcels of land would only be exploratory, making it highly speculative that anything would ever be produced.
"And based on research we have done we haven't seen that royalties that high should be paid," he told the commission.
Levanger pointed out that those lands were leased years ago by another company and that they decided not to drill on them because of some wildlife issues the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has expressed."
The commission tabled the issue until further study could be done on the issue and also so Terry could get back with his company to see if the royalty rates could be raised.