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Settlement deal nets property owner $250,000 – park visitors get access to creek

A highly contentious land dispute in the mountain town of Kittredge has ended with a settlement between Jefferson County and property owner Taralyn Romero.

KITTREDGE, Colo. — A settlement between the county government and a property owner who asserted her rights has been announced in the tiny town of Kittredge that was divided over who actually owns land where a popular creek is located. 

The settlement between Jefferson County and Taralyn Romero was hailed by both sides as a “win-win” nearly a year after Romero cut off public access to Bear Creek. Romero claimed Kittredge Park visitors were trashing the land she purchased in 2021. 

Under the settlement, the county will pay Romero $250,000, while the disputed creek access area will become officially part of Kittredge Park property. 

The public will continue to have access to the same beach area that has been a traditional recreational spot for the past 35 years.

Last year, Jefferson County filed a lawsuit against Romero seeking to obtain the disputed land through “adverse possession,” while claiming the land should belong to the public because of its recreational history.

Romero hired attorneys and fought the lawsuit while claiming historical surveys and maps proved she owned the property.

“We are pleased to announce that Jefferson County and Ms. Romero have settled the Kittredge Park boundary dispute related to access to Bear Creek from the park. This settlement honors the long history of public use of this beloved area while respecting the concerns of adjacent property owners,” a statement from county says.

This summer, as part of the agreement, Jefferson County and the Evergreen Park and Recreation District will conduct a land survey to establish new property deeds for Romero and Kittredge Park. Fences will be built to mark private and public property.

While Romero became a town pariah, she garnered a substantial and sympathetic social media following who felt she was being targeted by a local government and community seeking to obtain her private property. 

Romero captured name-calling and vulgar remarks on video by some park visitors that played out before thousands of her followers. 

“It truly is the minority of people who cause problems. The majority of people are good. I want them to have something they love which is known as the ‘beach,’ and I ended up getting beach prices for it. Hopefully we can all be happy and move on,” Romero said of the agreement.

The settlement was announced at a community meeting Wednesday night at which a few people visibly shook their heads in disappointment at the agreement. 

Yet community residents like Jimmy Dickson see the settlement as a way for people to move on from the animosity. 

“People's connection to nature, connection to water is very important. Hopefully it'll turn out all right,” Dickson said. 

If you have any information about this story or would like to send a news tip, you can contact jeremy@9news.com



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