BY LINDA BENTLEY | JUNE 23, 2010
Town abandons 65-foot right-of-way to nowhere
‘If the town hadn’t inherited the property, it never would have sought it because it goes nowhere’
CAVE CREEK – Council unanimously approved a resolution on Monday to abandon a 65-foot right-of-way adjacent to Gabe Royer’s property, declaring the right-of-way no longer necessary for public use, while reserving its right to the same as an easement for a roadway and public utilities.
According to Royer, the right-of-way was dedicated to the county in 1957, which did nothing with it and then when the town incorporated, it inherited the property and also did nothing with it.
He said, “If the town hadn’t inherited the property, it never would have sought it because it goes nowhere.”
Royer, who purchased the property at auction, only became aware of the problem when he applied for a permit to make other improvements to his property and is working with the town to try to remedy an illegal non-conforming use and bring his property into compliance.
Former owners applied for a permit to build a barn but then never built it. A subsequent owner apparently built a barn with no permit and placed it on the property, encroaching into the right-of-way.
If it were just a barn, Royer said he would have already torn it down. However, this was a substantial building with a concrete slab, built of block construction and not something easily demolished.
Councilman Ralph Mozilo had concerns over whether it would be precedent setting and stated, “This says the town doesn’t need the right-of-way but will maintain the easement for a roadway,” asking, “Isn’t that contradictory?”
Town Attorney Marlene Pontrelli said setting a precedent is always a concern but it’s a unique property with its own individual circumstances.
While the town claims the property has no value, Mozilo said it apparently has value for Royer.
Pontrelli responded, “And, by giving it to Royer, he’ll be paying taxes on the land.”