Subject: The unauthorized erecting of a gate and signing as private property the Old Raton Pass Road to stop or restrict access to city property.
I wish to make it clear that I have no interest in this matter other than concern that city property that I have used for over a decade now has been gated and signed as private property by unauthorized individuals. I do not own property close to the area, personally I know of no one who does other than the ones who placed the gate and signs there.
As a result on March 1, 2017, I was cited by the Colfax County Sheriff’s Office for being in violation of 30-15-01-1009 and as stated on the violation notice for damage to (sic) “no trespassing” signs he said were illegally posted.
The signs allegedly damaged are signs placed on City of Raton Property, specifically on the Old Raton Pass Road. Property owner(s), who own property beyond the gate and the signs, have constructed, erected and shut a gate and signed the area behind the gate as PRIVATE PROPERTY. The signs further state that trespassing is prohibited. The road in question is the property of the City of Raton and has been open to the public for many years. The gate was constructed and placed on the road in the fall of 2016.
I attended a Raton City Commission meeting on November 8, 2016 and spoke to them on the issue when the subject was addressed at that meeting. Several other people were present at that same meeting to address the commission on the same issue. Later I visited privately, two separate times, with Raton City Manager Scott Berry on this same matter. I have also communicated on this matter with City Commissioner Ron Chavez. This dealt with a gate and signs that had been placed across the road limiting access to the Old Raton Pass Road beyond the gate.
I specifically asked both the city commission at the meeting and City Manager Scott Berry, on two separate private meetings with him, if the city had erected the gate or signed the property? The answer in all cases was no. I then specifically asked if the city had authorized anyone to place a gate and sign the property as private? Again was answer no. From both the city commission and City Manager Scott Berry, the city had neither erected the gate, nor signed it, nor had the city authorized anyone to do so.
I then requested that the city instruct who ever had or has had the gate erected and signed the property beyond as private property to remove both the gate and signs. I further asked that if for some reason, the people who had placed the gate and signs refused that the city do this themselves. Neither the city commission nor City Manager Barry did anything about it. City Manager Scott Berry informed me that an opinion had not been received from some legal entity they were dealing with. The gate and signs remain and I now have been cited by the Colfax County Sheriffs Office to magistrate court for allegedly damaging the private property/no trespassing signs placed there.
It is my hope that the City of Raton and the community in general act to stop this effort by whom ever has erected the gate and signed city property as private. This is an effort to stop the citizens from lawfully accessing property, the Old Raton Pass Road, that in all reality belongs to them. If something is not done the citizens of Raton and general public will lose access to a historical road that belongs to them. The gate and signs are clearly meant to keep citizens away from city property that otherwise has been open to them.
This same issue, the gating of the road and signing, has previously been an issue in Raton and before the city commission. The City Commission has addressed this very issue in the past. Now we have a new owner, or owners, beyond the city limits and on either side of the road that has been gated and signed. The issue has started all over again.
The city has an obligation to its citizens to remove the gate and instruct who ever gated and signed to cease and desist in this effort to prohibit their lawful use of the area.
Preciliano J. Martin
936 South. 5th Street
Raton, NM 87740