Carbondale, Snook need to work things out |

Carbondale, Snook need to work things out

The town of Carbondale seems engaged in a potentially costly game of “chicken” with a wealthy homeowner near the town’s water treatment plant. As things stand now, the town’s water supply may be at risk and each has filed suit against the other.

These dueling lawsuits serve no purpose except to enrich lawyers and congest the court system. The parties need to sit down and negotiate a reasonable, low-cost solution that protects the water supply.

As far as we can tell, both sides have an argument here. Garry Snook wants to control weeds on his 55-acre property, which happens to be located above the town’s water intake on Nettle Creek. Asking him or his employees to pull every noxious weed and dandelion by hand seems like heavy-handed overkill.

On the other hand, the town is justifiably concerned about its water supply. Construction on Snook’s property has clogged the town’s water filters before, and they have expressed reasonable concerns about his plan to apply potentially lethal, weed-killing chemicals near Nettle Creek, which runs through his property and is the town’s primary water source.

Keeping chemical herbicides out of the water supply should be the town’s top priority.

The town of Carbondale sued Snook in 2001 for damages related to the construction incidents that mucked up the water treatment plant, and the suit has since grown to include the herbicide matter.

And this week Snook sued the town in federal district court for violating his right to equal protection; in other words, he feels he’s being singled out.

These kinds of battles make for great small-town newspaper stories, but the headlines tend to obscure the level of waste involved. Carbondale’s water supply has so far tested free and clear of herbicides.

The town is hardly swimming in tax revenue these days and can ill afford to be jousting in court with the wealthy CEO of a bicycle equipment retailer. We reason that town officials went public with their side of the story this week in order to shame Snook into cooperating.

Whatever the case, this strikes us as a matter that good neighbors can easily resolve. The safety of Carbondale’s water supply is in everybody’s interest – including Garry Snook’s.

Newspapers love to report a good fight, but this is one fight we’d like to go away. Come on, people, work it out.

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