Judge throws out De Beque lawsuit

County overstepped its bounds by suing over zoning issue, ruling says

Mesa County had no business suing De Beque over the town’s zoning of a small, recently annexed parcel, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Mesa County District Judge David Bottger said the county was overreaching through the courts.

Mesa County had challenged the town’s zoning of the Newpark development, a parcel of less than three acres at 2176 Interstate 70 Frontage Road.

“Distilled to its essence,” Bottger wrote in the seven-page decision, “the county’s complaint seeks to do indirectly what the county cannot do directly, compel the town to adopt the county’s master plan.”

Bottger also awarded De Beque attorney fees in the case and a hearing will be scheduled to determine the fees.

“It’s a big victory for the town,” said Ed Sands, De Beque town attorney. “Hopefully it makes Mesa County and the commissioners come to their senses about using the judicial process for these kinds of purposes.”

Bottger’s ruling in the Newpark case has no bearing on another suit in which Mesa County challenged the annexation of the five-acre Vaughn property.

A decision in that case is pending.

Another contested action by the town, the Caretto subdivision annexation, is moot because the developer never signed annexation papers, Sands said.

Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock said Bottger’s ruling was “obviously disappointing,” but the issue wasn’t the most important one the county was trying to raise.


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