Oak Creek resident learns his driveway belongs to South Routt School District | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek resident learns his driveway belongs to South Routt School District

The red outline shows the approximate location of a 0.07-acre parcel of land owned by the South Routt School District. Homeowner Max Huppert owns the house and land immediately adjacent to the parcel and had assumed the district's land was his own until this summer. Soroco High School is the largest building in the upper left corner of the image.

— The South Routt Board of Education learned Tuesday that the school district owns a small parcel of land currently being used as an Oak Creek man’s driveway and a site for his storage shed.

Resident Max Huppert was moving his shed to prepare for excavation work on what he thought was a driveway on his Oak Creek property, when he learned from the town administrator that a 0.07-acre parcel beginning inches from his house isn’t actually his.

Huppert does own a 1,600-square-foot home on a 0.26-acre lot on the south end of Grant Avenue, just downhill from Soroco Middle School.

According to Huppert, the parcel of district land is a 25-foot by 75-foot area running along the south property line of his land.

Huppert never formally surveyed the land when he purchased the property in 2008 and assumed the district’s land was his because of an old fence line that made it seem that way.

Superintendent Darci Mohr told the board Tuesday she hadn’t known the property belonged to the district and wasn’t sure when or how it was acquired.

“We don’t know how we got this piece of land,” Mohr said.

The Routt County Assessor’s website confirms that the district owns the parcel, but the online property records don’t indicate when, or from whom, the district acquired it.

Huppert offered the district $3,000 cash for the property at Tuesday’s meeting.

Board members were supportive of transferring the land to Huppert but first wanted to know how the land was acquired and whether there were any restrictions associated with the land.

Mohr also said she would get an informal appraisal on the land from a local real estate broker. Board members said they assumed the parcel was unbuildable because of its size.

“I don’t think it’s worth anything but to the adjacent property owners,” said board member John McCollum.

Board President Jules Palyo said it made sense for the land to become Huppert’s, but Palyo wanted to make sure the district did its due diligence before turning it over.

“I’d like for him to have it,” Palyo said. “But I think we should get fair market value for it.”

Board member Jamie Hoff joked that perhaps the board shouldn’t seek fair market value for the parcel, because it may be less than the $3,000 Huppert had offered.

Board members agreed they would either pursue selling the land to Huppert or leasing it to him if for some reason a sale wasn’t feasible.

“It only makes sense that it would be yours,” Mohr said.

The board hopes to resolve the land use issue at its next meeting in August.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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