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Road Access Dispute Near Flagstaff Mountain Being Waged in Third District Court

A lawsuit pending in Summit County’s Third District Court involves a road-access dispute up in Empire Pass.
A family-owned company says they have the right to use a historic roadway to their property, where a couple of mine-claim parcels are located.
But another owner claims authority, since the road is crossing their land.

A lawsuit was filed in July by two land owners affiliated with Extell Development—RH Mayflower LLC and 32 Dom Mayflower LLC.
Their suit says that the defendant, the Bransford Land Company, filed an improper Notice and Claim last May on a Roadway crossing the Mayflower land and it is therefore a wrongful lien.
The roadway accesses two mining claims, called “Logan” and “UP No. 2” established back in 1887.     The claims, about 20 acres each, are located on the side of Flagstaff Mountain, south of land held by the Deer Valley Resort.
The Extell companies say that road access, over some 36.5 acres they own, isn’t possible without their permission, which has been withdrawn at this time.  They say there hasn’t been mining activity on the Bransford property for over 50 years.
The Plaintiffs allege that Bransford wrongfully created a cloud on their land title.   Talks between the two sides had broken down, allegedly, when Bransford demanded inflated prices to sell off their mining claims.
The litigation says that Bransford “seeks to groundlessly leverage long-abandoned mining claims into free, unrestricted access across Plaintiffs property for the apparent purpose of commercial development.”

But in their Counterclaim and Reply, the Bransford relatives say that the road access is obvious and visible,  has been utilized for over 130 years, and is the only reasonable access to their property.
They say their family acquired the property in 1943, and they can remember, from the early 1970’s, using the road access for themselves, their friends and other invitees.
The Bransford company argues that legally, they have a
Prescriptive easement, and an access by necessity and implication.
But the Plaintiffs, in their court filings, say Bransford is citing a collection of vague and overbroad legal theories.  They also claim the use of the road has been sporadic and is not continuous.
At this point, the two sides are conducting Discovery and scheduling depositions of the parties.     Third District Court Judge Teresa Welch is presiding over the litigation.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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