In a move designed to end litigation with the owners of the Cole Ranch subdivision, the San Juan County Board of Commissioners last week agreed to drop the county’s claim to the abandoned Silverton Northern Railroad right of way through the property near Eureka.
The Cole Ranch owners sued the county in July 2008, challenging the county’s claim of ownership of two roads across the property and a 200-foot-wide easement along the abandoned railroad.
Part of their lawsuit was thrown out by District Judge Gregory Lyman in April.
The plaintiffs in the case, Merlin Schaefer and Sandra Ippolite, offered a settlement last month in which the county would have to agree to limit the use of alleged County Road 22A on the west bank of the Animas.
The county commissioners refused to go along with that.
But the plaintiffs have since amended their lawsuit, leaving only the railroad grade in contention in the current litigation.
“The amended complaint was only for the railroad,” Schaefer said Tuesday. With the commissioners signing off on a disclaimer of the county’s ownership, Schaefer said a settlement appears near.
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