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George M. and Geraldine E. Zeimens v. City of Torrington

July 18, 2012

GEORGE M. AND GERALDINE E. ZEIMENS, APPELLANTS (PLAINTIFFS),
v.
CITY OF TORRINGTON, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION; AND THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF THE COUNTY OF GOSHEN, APPELLEES (DEFENDANTS).



Appeal from the District Court of Goshen County The Honorable Keith G. Kautz, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burke, Justice.

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.

NOTICE:

This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] Appellants, George and Geraldine Zeimens, contend that the right-of-way for Sheep Creek Road is sixty-six feet wide. If they are correct, an electric power line built by the City of Torrington is located, in part, outside of the right-of-way and on the Zeimens' property. Torrington and Goshen County contend that the right-of-way is eighty feet wide, and that the electric power line is located entirely within the right-ofway. Unable to resolve their differences, the Zeimens filed suit against the City and the County. After a bench trial, the district court ruled that the right-of-way is eighty feet wide, and entered judgment in favor of Torrington and the County. The Zeimens appealed that judgment. We will affirm.

ISSUES

[¶2] The Zeimens present these two issues:

1. Whether the board of county commissioners failed to make certain and definite the width ascribed to Goshen County Road 72.

2. Whether the width of the right-of-way for Goshen County Road 72 is limited to that width as actually laid out and opened to public travel, or sixty-six feet.

The City and the County disagree with this statement of the issues, and assert that the only issue on appeal is whether the district court correctly ruled that Sheep Creek Road is eighty feet wide, thereby precluding the Zeimens' claims for taking and trespass.

FACTS

[¶3] In 1908, the Board of Commissioners for Laramie County, Wyoming, began the process of establishing Sheep Creek Road as Laramie County Road 32, running generally east from Torrington to the Nebraska border. The County Surveyor was instructed to survey and plat the road. The plat he prepared and filed with the Laramie County Clerk designates the center line of Sheep Creek Road, but fails to indicate its width. In 1911, Goshen County was established from a portion of Laramie County. 1911 Wyo. Sess. Laws Ch. 10. The new Goshen County included Sheep Creek Road, which became Goshen County Road 72.

[ΒΆ4] The Zeimens own and live on property north of, and adjacent to, Sheep Creek Road. In 2008, the City of Torrington received permission from Goshen County to build an electric power line in the right-of-way of Sheep Creek Road. One wooden utility pole and one steel utility pole were erected on the Zeimens' property. The parties agree that these poles extend beyond the right-of-way if it is only sixty-six feet wide, as the Zeimens contend, but are within the right-of-way if it is eighty feet wide, as the City and County contend. The Zeimens sued the City and the County, seeking damages resulting from trespass and taking of their property. After a ...


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