Westgate access to Elk Falls Ranch

Update to homeowners – June, 2010

… Bob Phelps


Little did I know what I was getting into when I ran for the Board. It quickly became clear that the most substantive issue this year would be access rights to the subdivision across Elk Creek, Juniper, and Jensen Roads (the disputed roads). As you know, on February 23, 2010 the Dunwodys brought the access issue to a head by blockading the disputed roads. The Board immediately but unsuccessfully asked the county and the sheriff for help to get the Dunwodys to remove the blockade.  The Board was forced to take the matter to court to ensure that Elk Falls Ranch residents did not loose access to their homes. We obtained a temporary restraining order forcing immediate removal of the road blockade, and a preliminary injunction ensuring maintenance of the status quo until a settlement or a trial. The Board has been advised by its attorney that we have a very strong likelihood of success but that litigation is expensive.

The only alternatives to homeowners short of giving up permanent access over the disputed roads are a settlement or a trial. A temporary access agreement is not acceptable because it could result in a forfeiture of existing historic rights. The Board would prefer an out-of-court settlement and indeed the court has mandated mediation before a trial date can be set. However, it is essential for us to continue fighting for permanent unrestricted access. Litigation could cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, had we not fought back through the courts, the blockade of the disputed roads would still be in place. Without access to the subdivision via the disputed roads many residents would not only be forced to endure a severe inconvenience and unsafe access to their property, the response of title insurers and mortgage companies would likely result in a significant decrease in the property values for almost every homeowner in Elk Falls Ranch. These amounts could far exceed the cost of litigation. Even though have requested the court to require the Dunwodys to pay our attorney fees, we can’t count on that happening.

The trial, if one is ultimately necessary, will not be held for at least two or three months. A full report to homeowners will be available at the annual meeting on July 11.