County commissioners balk on road access dispute

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Roosevelt County commissioners fielded a complaint concerning access along Roosevelt Road T from landowner Charles May at Tuesday’s regular meeting. The discussion ended in a failed split vote on a motion to officially notify adjacent property owner David Stone to remove obstructions from the county roadway.

The item came up during the “items from commissioners” section of the agenda and was tossed out by Commissioner Tom Clark. After hearing from Clark and May and reviewing photos that Clark said he had taken, several commissioners expressed a desire to have county attorney Randy Knudson review the situation before taking any action.

In a letter to Clark, which was handed out to commissioners during the meeting, May complained that large boulders had been placed along the east side of Roosevelt Road T at the gates and cattle guard of the property he recently purchased to the east of the Stone ranch. He also stated in the letter that a fence on the west side of the road made it impossible to turn around on the road, which ends between the two pieces of property.

“It would be utter chaos if we were all allowed to close gates and cattle guards and build fences on any county road that one might choose,” May said in the letter.

“That road has to be opened up and obstructions removed,” Clark said.
Clark made a motion that the county attorney be directed to contact the property owner asking that obstructions to the road be removed or the county would remove the obstructions and bill him. Commission Chairman Dennis Lopez seconded the motion, which was defeated with only Clark and Lopez voting for it.

Following the vote, Clark, from his seat, apologized to May “for this board’s inaction.” He suggested that May’s best alternative was to take legal action against the county.

Lopez followed Clark’s comment by assuring May that the Commission would address the problem.

Stone, who was not at the meeting, told the PNT on Tuesday that the county roadway was not blocked and that the road only goes to his property. He said the boulders had been placed there previously to prevent motorists from running into a cattle guard that had previously been in place on his side of the property line.

“It’s not against the law to put something in the right-of-way,” Stone said. “There are millions of right-of-ways that are obstructed.”