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Alpha Drive issue resolved

Ownership of a portion of Alpha Drive will be transferred to the Town of Pagosa Springs from Archuleta County by means of a quit claim deed, according to ordinance No. 775, which was read for the first time at the town council meeting Aug 23. After a second reading at the next public meeting, the ordinance will be adopted and the town will accept ownership of the road, clearing one of the few remaining obstacles before Pagosa Country gets a Wal-Mart.

Vivian Rader brought up concerns that Archuleta County does not have the right to give ownership of the road to the town because others may have an interest in the property, including herself and her husband. She also claimed a warranty deed would be less risky than a quit-claim deed.

Archuleta County Commissioner Michael Whiting said, “As of this morning, no one at the county actually knew that there was title work being done on this. Given the potential value of this piece of property to the county, it is my strong opinion that we deserved to know all the details. This shows a pattern of poor communication that is evident in a lot of projects.”

Town attorney Bob Cole noted, “We have received a title commitment from Colorado Land Title Company that indicated fee-simple title to Alpha Drive is currently vested in Archuleta County.

“I believe that the county currently has title, the county has tendered a valid quit-claim deed of its interest to the town, and the town has the authority to accept that quit-claim deed by ordinance, if you choose to go forward.”

Cole stated, “The different levels of deed provide different levels of warranty. With a quit-claim deed the seller gives no warranty they have anything. With a general warranty deed, the other end of the spectrum, the seller is warranting they do have title and they can convey title. Title insurance is a mechanism to reduce that risk.” The town has paid a $1,000 premium for a title insurance policy.

Rader also brought up concerns about the cost to the town in accepting an un-improved road and the precedent it will set for the future. Her fear is that if the Army Corp of Engineers does not issue Wal-Mart a permit to build near the wetlands and Wal-Mart is forced to pick another location to build, then no one will be interested in improving the road up to town standards.

Cole reassured the council, “Ordinance 775, in section one, makes acceptance of the quit-claim deed contingent upon the posting of financial security to insure the improvement of Alpha Drive to town standards. You would be adequately secured to insure the road will be improved at the time the acceptance of the deed becomes effective.”

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