• Last modified 1310 days ago (Feb. 27, 2020)


County closes part of 360th Rd.

Staff writer

County commissioners cast a split vote Monday to close a one-mile portion of 360th Rd. after discussing the subject at length with neighbors and county counsel Brad Jantz.

Landowner Dale Koop originally asked that commissioners close or vacate 360th Rd. between Bison and Chisholm Trail.

“It started a couple years ago,” Koop said. “We had unwanted traffic out there.”

Koop said a Sunday afternoon incident with a drunken driver going off the road and “tearing things up” is what made him turn to commissioners.

“Was it an isolated incident?” commissioner Dianne Novak asked.

“Pretty much,” Koop said.

Koop said he would like to extend irrigation across what is now roadway.

Warren Unruh, who farms near that section of road, told commissioners he only drives it a couple of times a year and doesn’t have a strong objection to closing it. He said he was at the meeting to see what commissioners decided.

County clerk Tina Spencer told commissioners that if the county vacates the road, the property easement goes back to the landowner and is subject to taxation. If the county closes the road, it can go back in and develop the road again, but not if it’s vacated, Spencer said.

Novak said she received a letter from someone strongly opposing closure of the road.

“If you start closing roads, where are you going to stop?” Unruh asked commissioners.

Unruh said he rocks the road he lives on because the county doesn’t maintain it well enough.

Most people nearby use roads maintained by the Diamond Vista wind farm because they are in better shape, Unruh said.

“Those turbine roads, they’ve been a benefit,” Unruh said. “A lot of people come down through Diamond Vista and use those roads.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke expressed some trepidation about closing the road. After the county earlier closed a road, property owners moved away, he said.

“The world is changing,” Dallke said. “Today is today, and tomorrow is tomorrow.”

Peabody farmer Randy Eitzen said it’s probably not necessary to have a road every mile anymore.

Commissioner Kent Becker suggested vacating the road but with easement belonging to the county, contingent on the commission getting advice from county counsel Brad Jantz.

Jantz said commissioners could close the road and maintain the county easement.

Commissioner voted 3-2 to close the road, with Novak and Dallke opposed.

Last modified Feb. 27, 2020