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County denies woman’s bid for buildable status

Susan Cunningham

Routt County commissioners on Tuesday denied a request by a woman to give buildable status to a 0.44-acre lot off Seedhouse Road.

Rozanne McKee Cechman, along with William and Jan VanStraaten, asked that the county make an exemption for the small lot that Cechman owns. The petition further said that once the exemption was made, the small lot would be combined with a 15.5-acre lot owned by the VanStraatens, and the entire lot would then be divided in half to make two almost 8-acre buildable lots.

The land is in a development south of Elk River and Seedhouse Road that was built before the county drafted its zoning and subdivision regulations.

Routt County commissioners Dan Ellison and Doug Monger said they could not approve the exemption. Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak was not present.

Ellison said he could not approve the exemption because it would not be in line with the Routt County planning documents.

“It does not (meet) the intent of the (Routt County master) plan or bring us closer to filling the rules that are on the books today,” Ellison said.

Jim Cook, representing Cechman, said Cechman’s history is tied to the land. Her father homesteaded the area in the 1940s, and she hoped to pass the land on to her grandchildren, Cook said.

“It seems like a part of history for her family is going to be lost if we can’t do something for her,” Cook said.

“I’d like to see her preserve something for her family,” he said later.

The 0.44-acre lot was created in 1973 when the 15.5-acre lot was made, and so was “orphaned,” Routt County Planner Mary Alice Page-Allen said. That division took place after the county adopted its subdivision regulations, so the lots should be subjected to those rules, she said. The 0.44-acre lot was not recorded but has been assessed as buildable since 1973.

Several property owners in the area did not support the exemption for Cechman’s property, saying that another home built in the area could detract from their enjoyment of their own homes.

Attorney Bruce Jarchow, representing two landowners, said if commissioners granted the exemption, it could set a precedent they may not want to follow.

In other business, Routt County commissioners also denied a request to vacate the east 50 feet of Placer Street between Routt County Road 129 and Third Avenue in Hahn’s Peak.


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