In order to collect more information regarding the possibility a taking quarter-miles stretch of Reasnor Road out of use, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors opened a public hearing during its meeting Wednesday morning, allowing the parties involved to share their thoughts in hopes that a resolution to the problem could be found.
Property owner Mike Lanphier requested the portion of the Reasnor road, East 40th Street South, be vacated. The stretch of county road was described in the supervisors’ agenda as “road number 596 commencing at the (southeast corner of section 14, T78N, R19W, thence running one-half mile north to the (northeast) corner of the (southeast) corner of the (southeast) quarter of section 14, T78N, R19W.”
Jasper County Supervisor Doug Cupples later clarified the road length was actually a “quarter of a mile” instead of a half-mile. County Engineer Russ Stutt told the board of supervisors a southern portion of the road had already been vacated some time ago. Cupples added that he had been contacted via email by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to notify the county of the agency’s permanent easement on the road or another portion of the road.
Attorney David Brick, of Brick Gentry P.C., represented and spoke on behalf of Lanphier at the supervisors meeting. He claimed the Reasnor roadway easement has not been used “as a road since it was first installed” in the 1870s and asked that East 40th Street South be vacated “in its entirety,” especially since “it interferes with the Lanphier’s property.”
Carl Lust, a landowner who claimed would be affected by the proposed vacation, said the reason the road needs to stay is because it would impede upon the 25 acres of food plots planted by himself and his neighbor. Lust said his neighbor uses the road to access the plots because oftentimes a lower quarter of his ground that he lives on floods out.
“This would put a burden upon him,” Lust told the board. “He would have to go across in planted ground and destroy crops to get down to that ground (if the road was vacated) … The Lanphiers have lived there for over 20 years. There’s never been a problem.”
Cupples said one of the Lanphiers’ primary concerns is the road would become active and overused. Lust said he understood the family’s worries but thinks it is “unfounded,” claiming the most vehicles he had seen “on the neighboring public hunting area at any one time has been four.”
Jasper County Supervisor Brandon Talsma said he has seen more than that. Lust entertained those vehicles might be the exception to the rule if they are using the road for work purposes, to which Talsma countered he was “the one down there doing the work” and also said there are vehicles parked on the road “doing stuff that they shouldn’t be doing as well.”
“Well I don’t think we can stop that,” Lust said.
“I’m not saying we can stop it but I wouldn’t necessarily want that to come 25 feet outside by bedroom door,” Talsma said, noting the road’s proximity to the Lanphier home.
“Well it’s more than that — that I know for a fact,” Lust added. “…I would like the board to reject this and keep it like it is. And it the Lanphiers would be so inclined to come to me to talk about it, I would be open to that. In all this, they have never come to me at all. Now, when you have a problem, don’t you go to the person to and say, ‘Look, can we sit down and talk about it?’”
Craig Johnstone, a licensed land surveyor and civil engineer of Johnstone & Associates, approached the board alongside Lust and said if the road was to be vacated as it has been proposed it would landlock and devalue Lusts’ own property. Brick said he doesn’t see how the property would be landlocked.
Cupples asked Lanphier what kind of result he specifically wanted from the road vacation.
Lanphier said, “To keep public traffic off of our yard … We’ve maintained it. We’ve lived there for 26 years. We’ve maintained it as our yard. We’ve done all the dirt work, all the seeding and we just hate to see it open up as a public access to anything right beside our house, right beside our bedrooms.”
Lust took exception to one of Lanphiers’ comments.
“He said he did all the dirt work? I’d like to let you know that I hauled the dirt in there with a soil mover that I borrowed from my neighbor to make it level for him,” Lust claimed. “That’s what he wanted.”
Lanphier added, “I stand that I did the dirt work on that.”
Regardless, Cupples said the reality of the situation is the road is close to the Lanphiers’ home and asked both parties if there was any way a compromise or agreement could be met. Lust said he has lived in the area “a long, long time” and had witnessed the amount of cars on the road, claiming “it is not that many.”
Brick said the Lanphiers are asking for the “status quo” and claimed East 40th Street South is not being used as a roadway. He added if something is developed beyond the road, then “there’s a good chance that road is going to start being used as a road.”
“We’re not asking for any new rights,” Brick said. “We’re just saying no one has been using this 100 years, just vacate it, because that’s how it’s been acting.”
Johnstone said the roadway is functioning as it should — “allowing access to farm ground.” People who move to the county, he said, are not granted the “status quo” because “things change.” Furthermore, Johnstone said he does not believe the Jasper County Board of Supervisors “should be involved in this discussion.”
Lust said this situation “should have never happened.” Although he understands the Lanphiers’ concerns, Lust said the family “paranoid about what they feel is going to be the amount of traffic that’s going down that road.”
The Jasper County Board of Supervisors made no decision on the road vacation and closed the public hearing.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org