A resident who owns property at the end of County Road 7420 south of Newburg may have to resort to using the courts in order to settle a dispute with her neighbor regarding access to her land.
Phelps County Commissioners told the resident, Eula Mae Huskey, along with six of her neighbors and friends during the Feb. 5 commission meeting that a judgment may be Huskey’s only option unless the U.S. Forest Service is interested in her land.
Huskey said she has been battling with her neighbor Annette Lowe since February 2012 after Huskey said Lowe placed a pole and fence across the road, blocking Huskey from accessing her land at the end of the road.
According to Huskey, Lowe said she had permission from the Delong family, who lives along the road, to put the gate across the road. It is unclear at this time who owns the road or where easements are located.
No record conveyances to the county for the road could be located and the U.S. Forest Service reports that no special use permits have been issued to individuals for use of the road as it crosses their lands.
Huskey said County Road 7420 is the only way to access her property, which she is trying to sell. Huskey has been told by numerous individuals, including an attorney she hired, that she cannot be landlocked.
“You may have to put this in front of a judge and get an injunction that the sheriff’s department can enforce,” said District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks.
“I’ve spent enough money already,” Huskey said.
Hicks said he understands Huskey’s frustration.
Huskey said she has contacted the sheriff’s department previously and was told that the matter needed to be worked out between Huskey and her neighbor. Huskey’s attorney has also written a letter to Lowe.
District One Commissioner Larry Stratman said he doesn’t know of any way around the situation except for getting a judge’s opinion.
Huskey asked if the commissioners could send Lowe a letter, but because the county has not maintained the road for several years, the commissioners agreed that there was nothing they could do from their standpoint.
While it is not considered a county road, that doesn’t mean that it’s still not a public road.
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“It looks like we’ve abandoned that portion of the road,” said Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp and noted that now it is a private issue between Huskey and Lowe.
It was mentioned that a judge could issue Huskey a prescriptive easement to access her property.
Or a judgment could be issued against Lowe from barring Huskey access to her land and that could be enforced by the sheriff’s department.
“All I want to do is go down the road to my land,” Huskey said.
“We feel your pain,” Verkamp said.
Since Huskey’s property is bordered on three sides by the U.S. Forest Service land, Verkamp said Huskey could contact the U.S. Forest Service about selling or trading her property.
Huskey has attended the commission’s meeting several times regarding this issue, most recently on Jan. 17.
In other business
The commission opened bids Feb. 5 from two vendors for a generator transfer switch to be installed at the county jail. One bid from LiveWire was for $45,298.75 and the other bid from Central Security Enterprises (CSE) was for $39,845. The bids were taken under advisement.
All three commissioners were scheduled to attend training with the County Commissioners Association of Missouri Feb. 6-8.
The commissioners will not meet Tuesday, Feb. 12, due to Lincoln’s birthday holiday.
Hicks was appointed as the county’s representative to the Rolla Enhanced Enterprise Zone Board.