Raton Pass Road

Subject: Raton Pass Road

I have just listened to and watched the video of last nights (October 25, 2016) city commission meeting posted on the KRTN website. I am in particular writing to address the portion of the meeting dealing with the “access” or limiting and or denying access  to the citizens of Raton and or “deeding” the right of way of the Old Pass Road to landowners adjacent to the road.

This is not only a bad idea, it is a horrible idea. Consider this my protest.

This morning (10/26/2016) I personally stopped and visited a bit with City Manager Barry. Afterwords I came home and watched the video of the meeting and the comments made by the mayor and all of the commissioners as well as Mr. Steve Hyden who is a property owner there.

My wife and I drove the road this very afternoon and looked for the evidence of the vandalism going on which was mentioned at the meeting. All we could find that seemed new were a few individual pieces of roofing material, all of them this side of the towers located this side of a gate that has been newly installed there since the last time we were up there. I could pick up the pieces visible from the roadway in 15 to 20 minutes at the most. There was no evidence we noticed of any vandalism that has not been there for years.

There is a new gate and some signs placed there warning folks that the road is private, it is located at the same location where gates have been installed in the past and which the city then removed or had them removed..

Some questions that the citizens of Raton need answers to are:

1) What is the rush that it needs to be voted on at the next meeting which is the same night as the national election. People will be focused on that and not a city commission meeting.

2) The road from the towers to where it is blocked off is at least two and 1/2 miles. Do the math 2.5 miles X 5,280 Ft/Mile = 132,200 feet. Multiply that X 100 feet wide for the right of way and you get 1,320,000 square Ft., one million three hundred and twenty thousand square Ft. divide that by 43,560 Sq. Ft/Acre and we have 30.30 acres. This is what the city proposed to close off or “vacate” to the property owners as Mayor Mantz asked.

3) What is the monetary value of the property in question? Does the city know?

4) What is the recreational/cultural value of the Old Pass Road to the citizens of Raton?

5)  Is the monetary/recreational/cultural value sufficient to allow proper public discussion at the city commission meeting(s).?

6) Who are the individuals who stand to gain by this proposed action? We know commissioner Donald Giacomo is a land owner in the proposed area, he said so at the meeting.

7) Who authorized the placement of a gate there which was there today, October 26th, a few hours after the meeting drew to a close?

8) Who actually put the gate there? Was it the city? One of the Property owners?

9) Is the placement of the gate legal?

10) There are signs stating “PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING, NOT A PUBLIC ROADWAY”. Who placed the signs there? This is a public road, it belongs to the citizens of Raton.

11) Did the city authorize someone to place these signs there?

Further the appearance of a rush job is not consistent with good governance. Commissioner Chavez seemed agreeable to the idea of closing the road, Mayor Mantz actually asked about the possibility of DEEDING the property to the land owners, Commissioner Donald Giacomo indicated he is a property owner and as such would benefit from the action, Commissioner Schuester seemed ready to put it on the agenda for the next meeting which occurs on election night, Commissioner Segotta made the motion to place this on the November 8th meeting as an action item.

I think if you were a citizen sitting listening to this you too might ask if this is a good idea? If this is a rush to do it without proper citizen input? Why the rush.

Preciliano Martín
P.O. Box 513
536 SO. 5th Street
Raton, NM 87740

4 comments on “Raton Pass Road

  1. debbie sparke says:

    This road is historical and should be part of an overall tourist program. Raton does not have much to offer in the way of business incentives, but we have one of the most historically important pieces of real estate in the country. Why not PROMOTE the location rather than give it away.

    • Gary Decker says:

      While I agree with your sentiment, reality says,, who will pay for repaving the road, patrolling the large area. Also, removing snow. placing guard rails. etc. If the City can afford all that, by all means, it should. I am not sure the City can afford all that.

  2. Eddie Carter says:

    As a former councilor in another town, the City Commision may want to consider the New Mexico law regarding donations. I believe it may be illegal for the city to “deed”, give away, or donate property of any kind. I agree with Mr. Martin that in order to do anything with this property, the city needs to do its homework and not rush into an action that may cost the city of Raton in the long run. I am slightly familiar with the battle that took place concerning this property several years ago because I worked closely with one of the land owners that was involved in the fight to close the road. This issue is a lot more complicated than just a vote by the city commission. By the way, I am a Raton resident now.

  3. Leslie Fernandez says:

    This was brought before the City Commission YEARS ago, I believe by Richard Azar and by Nancy Robertson. My recollection is that the City could NOT lock a gate on that road. I believe it was researched and found to be an Historical Byway or some such. The City Attorney should remember this — it was a long, drawn out, and oft times heated battle between the landowners there and the folks attempting to keep it open. Perhaps Ray Floersheim can shed some light on this. The two people then mainly responsible for the fight against City Hall are either dead or have moved from Raton.