Dispute prompts road blockage

By: Amy Lipman Email
By: Amy Lipman Email

PALISADE, Colo. An ongoing disputing in a Palisade neighborhood prompted one man to take a stand by blocking the road.

The disagreement began when Kokopelli Farms started giving Accurate Construction rocks from their land a couple years ago to clear more room for trees.

"I was farming when I generated the rocks," said Brant Harrison, owner of Kokopelli Farms. "I just wanted to get rid of them. I was giving them away."

Mesa County and the Colorado Department of Reclamation Mining and Safety approved the practice in letters dated March 2012.

"Because we had gotten them from farming and not from mining, he could go ahead and take them off of here," Harrison said.

The trucks hauling the rocks have to drive down Rapid Creek Road, which upsets Rudy Fontanari, who said he owns a portion of the road.

"It's been private owned since 1904 by the new Grand Mesa coal company," Fontanari said. "Today it belongs to the Go Boy Coal Mine, which I own. I own the road. It's not a county road. It's a private road."

Fontanari and his son blocked the entrance to the road Wednesday morning to bring attention to the trucks coming down the road without his permission.

"I'm standing up for my rights here," Fontanari said. "My driveway, I pay taxes on it and I have the right to park in the middle of it. And I'm going to park in the middle of it anytime there's trucks going up and down the road that's not authorized."

However, Mesa County Public Works said the county has a 50 feet right of way on that portion of the road, which means it's open to public use, including heavy trucks.

Fontanari said he will have to sort out the disagreement with the county and the construction company.

Blocking a road is a misdemeanor that could lead to possible jail time and/or a fine.

Accurate Construction didn't return phone calls Thursday.

Fontanari does own a quarry that mines rocks similar to what Kokopelli Farms is giving away to Accurate Construction.

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