By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
A county road dispute one party says was settled years ago in district court found new life at Tuesday’s Roosevelt County Commissioners meeting.
In an agenda item brought by Commissioner Tom Clark, discussion was opened on the status of a one-mile section of Roosevelt Road T between Roosevelt Roads 8 and 9, southwest of Portales.
In last month’s regular commission meeting, Charles May, who owns property on the east side of the road, asked commissioners to require the property owner to the west to remove boulders he says are on the county right-of-way and obstruct access to his property off Roosevelt Road T. During that meeting a motion by Clark to order the property owner, David Stone, to comply with May’s request died for lack of a second.
Another motion by Clark on the matter Tuesday also died for lack of a second. His motion would have had the county purchase easements from each property owner of what he said was about 3.36 acres each.
He also said the road should be laid out with a 30-foot easement on each side.
“Charles May is entitled to access to his property from that road,” Clark said, as the motion was declared dead.
Clark said commissioners should do whatever it takes to get the matter settled.
“I think it’s been settled,” Stone said from the audience. “It’s gone to court and through appeals.”
In response, Clark questioned commissioners whether or not they had been out to look at the road. Commissioner David Sanders said he had not. With the others slow to answer, Clark accused commissioners Paul Grider, Gene Creighton and Chairman Dennis Lopez of riding out together to view the road. Commissioners did not answer his charge.
Such an act, if it occurred with a quorum of commissioners, would violate of the New Mexico Open Meetings Act.
Clark pledged his support of May’s cause and asked May if he had comments.
“I just can’t imagine taking huge rocks and blocking someone’s property,” May said.
Creighton finally broke the silence of the other four commissioners saying he had reviewed material from the old court case sent to him by the county attorney.
“The way I looked at this, it was resolved a long time ago by a district judge,” Creighton said.
Creighton suggested that May use the 30 feet on his side to blade out a road.
“Are you going to have a fence right in the middle of a county road?,” May asked.
“Unless it’s overturned by a district court we can’t do anything,” Creighton said.
Lopez agreed, saying that the court’s ruling was his reason for inaction, but questioned why the boulders couldn’t just be removed to settle the dispute.
Stone explained that he had put the boulders there to protect a cattleguard he had put in at his expense for a previous landowner.
“There wasn’t any contention on that road until he (May) moved in, Stone said.
Sanders came back to Creighton’s suggestion that a road be built on May’s side.
“Are we saying that Roosevelt Road T is not a county roa?,” May questioned.
Before anyone from the commission could answer, Stone fired back at the comment.
“I spent a lot of money going through the courts on this thing,” Stone said. “It’s like betting on instant replay if you want to do it again.”
May said that it looks like a public road and is a public road.
“It shouldn’t be up to a neighbor to determine where you enter your property from a public road,” May said.
“It’s been abandoned, it hasn’t been maintained,” Stone said.