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home : news : news Sunday, May 1, 2016

9/18/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Clinton County to formally take over north 190th Avenu
The Clinton County Board of Supervisors is taking steps to acquire the easement for a Grant Township road the county has maintained for decades even though the property technically has been under private ownership.

The road in question is a section of 190th Avenue that extends north of 205th Street approximately a quarter of a mile and is the sole route for two landowners to access their property.

According to supervisor Jill Davisson, the issue came to light when someone in the county assessor's office noticed a discrepancy in records and discovered the road was listed as a private lane but had not been taxed along with neighboring property.

County engineer Todd Kinney said the road encompasses a width of 2 rods that apparently was not included during a deed transfer sometime between 1992 and 1999.

Clinton County has maintained the road for years, providing grading and snow removal services, but the county has no record of a roadway easement for the property, Kinney said.

Supervisor Jill Davisson said she contacted former county employee Bill Thayer, "who was the maintainer there for years," and confirmed the county has provided road maintenance to the location of the first private driveway. The county has plowed snow further down the road because the plow has to continue in order to turn around, she said.

Kinney said the county has three options for dealing with the situation: passing a resolution declaring it a private road and stating the county no longer will maintain it; acquiring an easement for the road from landowners through the traditional negotiating process; or acquiring an "easement by prescription" based on the county's historical use and maintenance of the property.

Asked about the process for an easement by prescription, county attorney Mike Wolf said officials should work with the property owners on a mutual agreement.

"It's a private road right now, and it has been maintained for free by the county. If they say 'no,' then fine, we won't maintain your private road for you," Wolf said.

"It'd be beneficial to them (to allow an easement). It has been treated as a county road, and everyone has considered it that way," Wolf added.

Wolf said it is a "quid pro quo" situation where property owners will receive the benefit of continued maintenance if they allow an easement to make the road legal.

Kinney noted the situation is different on 190th Avenue than with other roads the county has been asked to maintain because there is a history of county maintenance at the location.

The size of the required easement was discussed. Although the standard roadway easement is 66 feet wide, Wolf said state code allows the county to acquire less property.

The county can maintain the road at its existing 40-foot width to avoid taking away additional farmland, he said.

Kinney recommended the county classify the road as a level B road rather than a full-service, level A road, based on the existing level of maintenance provided.

Property owners who attended the board's discussion were unanimous in their desire for the county to continue maintaining the road.

Daryl Henning, Joe Richmiller and attorney Dave Pillers, representing Mike and Kathleen Allen, were among those present.

Additional discussion centered on determining who currently holds title to the 2 rods of land on which the road is located since it wasn't included in the 1990s deed transfer.

Pillers said the deed transfer needs to be corrected before easement legally can be granted to the county.

Kinney said the next steps will be to survey the property and draft an agreement with the landowner or owners. The supervisors then will vote on a resolution to establish the property as a county road.

Easements ready for

UP railroad project


Easements are nearly complete for property owners in Drainage District 20 who will be impacted by the Union Pacific Railroad's (UP) plan to build a crew transfer station and switchyard west of Low Moor, attorney Randy Current told the board.

The easements are related to the relocation of drainage district infrastructure for the railroad project. The railroad is paying to move the drainage facilities but requires landowners to authorize a temporary construction easement, drainage district infrastructure easement and maintenance easement in order to complete the work.

Current said he has ordered title reports to verify landowner records and expects the easements to be in place by the end of October.

"It's questionable whether UP will take any action before the end of the year. It's my understanding they haven't let bids yet," Current said.

Other business

In other business, the board:

•Scheduled a public hearing on proposed berm repairs in Drainage District 22 for 8 a.m., Oct. 28, at Wheatland City Hall.

•Authorized Robert Hopson to complete the actuarial certification for the county health benefit plan at a cost of $700.

•Approved an adjustment to the assessed value of a parcel in the city of Clinton as requested by the assessor due to a change in acres.


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