CREEDE— Creede City Attorney Karen Lintott opened a public presentation during the Creede City meeting on Oct. 2 to explain city easements being proposed along the length of the flume.
Lintott began by stating that many residents had voiced concerns that their property was being taken away from them and gifted to the city, to which she explained is not the case.
“We have had a lot of talk going around town that the purpose of an easement is to change ownership of property from private owners to the city. This is not the case. Easements would not change property ownership. It would merely allow access to the flume for regular maintenance and in the event of an emergency, allow work to be completed on the flume,” said Lintott.
Lintott continued, explaining that she has recently worked with City Manager Clyde Dooley to research history of the flume, past easement deeds and to try and figure out a solution for the future. “I am not going to go into specific detail, because there is a long drawn out history behind the flume but what we did find is that the board back in 1983 and again in 1984 had land set aside and deeds created with the property owners of that time but that they were never recorded,” explained Lintott.
“We are not sure why the deeds were never recorded. The reason for that is not exactly clear but it gave us something to work with. There have been plans in place for flume maintenance for several years that allowed access for maintenance through the Army Corps of Engineers. What I want to do is make sure property owners understand what an easement is and that it would be to allow access through their properties to the flume.”
Mayor Jeffery Larson, also a long-time resident, spoke up and stated that he believes the deeds were never recorded due to a lack of funding at the time. “Either way, we have the original deeds that can be used as a means to move forward if we need them. What we need to do now is speak to property owners individually and come to an agreement,” stated Lintott.
In a draft easement agreement submitted to the board for consideration it states, “It is expressly understood and agreed that this easement deed and agreement is made solely for the purpose of giving the grantee, and its agents, employees and contractors, access to the Willow Creek Flume which abuts the grantor’s property. It is further expressly understood and agreed that the access to which the grantee is entitled to under this easement and agreement is solely for the purpose of maintaining the flume which, the parties further agree, is necessary to ensuring the integrity of the infrastructure and protection of the community of the City of Creede as a whole.”
Lintott explained that the proposed agreement is just an example of what the finalized document may look like and that it would include a required 30-day notice to property owners requesting access before any maintenance would be completed. “I want to speak with the property owners individually before we move ahead with any decisions to make sure everyone understands what this is,” explained Lintott.
Board members agreed to place a special meeting on a future agenda to discuss the easement issue in more detail in order to give property owners and Lintott more time to work out specifics. Any questions can be directed to Lintott by contacting the city at 658-2276.