Sep 29, 2015

Dueling signs on South Fork: County posts sign telling public to ignore landowners’ sign

A group of landowners near the Buffalo Bill Reservoir recently put up a sign telling the public to stay off their private road on the South Fork.

Believing the sign to be legally incorrect, Park County commissioners have posted one of their own, basically telling travelers to feel free to keep using it.

The county posted this sign in response to a sign from Shiloh Road landowners say the road is closed. Cody News Co. Photo by CJ Baker
Shiloh Road provides access to the southern end of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir off the Lower Southfork Road. Shiloh Road is private, meaning it’s maintained not by the county government, but by the people who own the dozen or so lots along it.

Over the past year, representatives from Shiloh Road’s homeowners association asked the commissioners, the Park County Parks and Recreation Board, Bureau of Reclamation and Buffalo Bill State Park officials for help with the gravel road’s maintenance. The homeowners said the public traffic was damaging their road and — while they wanted to keep it open to the public — they also wanted some help to cover the costs.

The homeowners’ requests yielded little.

Commissioners refused to take on the maintenance of another road. The county did offer to donate some gravel, but Shiloh Road homeowners representative Zach Toellner said they declined the offer because it felt like “just kind of a, ‘take this and fix your road.’”

The homeowners ultimately invested upwards of $10,000 of their own money to upgrade it, Toellner said. They then posted the sign — which reads, “PRIVATE ROAD No Public Access” — to protect the investment, Toellner said.

However, like most of the other subdivision roads in Park County, Shiloh Road was dedicated to the public when it was first developed. According to the county, that means the homeowners’ sign is meaningless and anyone is free to use the road until the landowners legally change its status.

Shiloh Road landowners posted these signs in an effort to protect their recently fixed-up road. Cody News Co. photo by CJ Baker
“They own the road, so we really have no jurisdiction to make them take the sign down,” commission chairman Joe Tilden said at the commission’s Aug. 11 meeting. Tilden said the best the county could do was to notify the public that the road is still open.

His fellow commissioners unanimously agreed, though Commissioner Tim French wondered if one sign basically reading, “Stay out,” and another saying, “Go ahead,” might be confusing.

“It could be very confusing, but it could at least get somebody to make a phone call,” Tilden offered.

The county’s new sign reads, “Shilo (sic) Road Dedicated to use of General Public.” It plans to correct the misspelling of Shiloh.

Toellner said in an interview last month that the homeowners are beginning to look at formally making the road private and off-limits to the public, but he said they still would like to find a way to keep the public access.

“If the county commissioners are still willing to work with us, we’re all ears,” Toellner said, though he added, “It just doesn’t seem they’re very interested to have any skin in the game.”

Commissioners did not contact the Shiloh Road residents before putting up the county sign.

1 comment:

  1. While they're fixing the misspelled road name, maybe they can also remove the quotes that nobody told them to put there.


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