Friday, September 10, 2004

Ketchum wants land back

City is ?losing? rights-of-way to encroachments

Express Staff Writer

Each winter, the city of Ketchum can expect a rash of phone complaints from residents about lawn sprinklers and sod being ripped out by snowplows.

What most complainants don?t realize is that their sprinklers and landscaping is on city land, not their private property,

In a report to the City Council on Tuesday, Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc cited this as one of the examples of how the city has ?lost? rights-of-way. He said the city needs to launch an education and enforcement campaign to recover the land.

City Attorney Ben Worst also pointed out that public right-of-way is not subject to the laws of adverse possession?that is, simply being occupied over time and becoming the property of the squatter.

LeBlanc said a cursory inspection around the city shows that alleys and street rights-of-way even have been encroached by structures.

Council President Randy Hall pointed out the city could face a major problem if buildings were found to be on city rights-of-way.

LeBlanc said he would continue inspections to find specific examples of encroachment, and then work with the Planning and Zoning Department to develop a city policy on enforcement.

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