Relationship improving for county, De Beque

The bitter relationship between the tiny town of De Beque and Mesa County may have begun to thaw, just in time for spring.

Late last year De Beque hired Bennet Boeschenstein, former director of the Mesa County and the city of Fruita planning departments. He has been put to work drafting an annexation and a comprehensive plan for De Beque.

The news of his hire was motivation enough for David Frankel, an assistant Mesa County attorney, to ask a judge to table — at least temporarily — a lawsuit the county has pending against De Beque. The county contends in the suit that De Beque is annexing properties without doing proper planning or development of sufficient infrastructure, such as sewerage and roads.

Mesa County Judge David Bottger agreed last week, during a status conference call with all parties involved in the lawsuit, to put the case on hold. Bottger previously threw out two similar lawsuits the county brought against De Beque and ordered the county to pay De Beque for its legal expenses.

The last case Bottger threw out cost Mesa County taxpayers nearly $5,000.

“The judge was pleased. He went out of his way to say it is not his intention to make people incur costs and make people try cases,” Frankel said. “This is good. This is what we have been seeking, so it makes sense to put this litigation on hold.”

De Beque’s town manager, Bruce Smith, said the town’s board of trustees passed a resolution stating it will not discuss planning matters with the county until it agrees to stop dragging De Beque into court.

But with the hiring of Boeschenstein, Smith toned down his rhetoric against the county, just a notch.

“We really are looking to get along with the county. We really don’t need any controversy with them or anyone else,” Smith said.

Smith said Boeschenstein is the perfect man for the job.

“He’s got a ton of experience in Mesa County,” Smith said. “He is very, very competent.”


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