Red Willow County commissioners mediated a dispute Monday morning between two landowners arguing about a road and access to farmland.
During a 73 minute public hearing, Phil and Janice Bamesberger asked commissioners to abandon and vacate the road; Stan and Steve Quigley said they don't want its status changed.
The road, named Road 221 in 1889, runs east of the intersection of (current) Roads 397 and 713, south of Indianola on the Indianola-Danbury road.
The road dead-ends in a pasture after about three-quarters of a mile, although Commissioner Leigh Hoyt said Monday morning that at one time it turned north another half-mile into a farmstead that no longer exists.
County Roads Superintendent Gary Dicenta told commissioners several weeks ago that he can find no record of a right-of-way width or official abandonment or vacation of Road 221.
The Quigleys told commissioners they use the old road to access their farmland and pasture in Section 5, which borders the north side of the land that the Bamesbergers recently purchased in the adjacent Section 8.
The boundary line of Bamesbergers' land is on the north side of the original road, and they want to erect a pasture/field fence on the north boundary of their land.
Phil Bamesberger told commissioners during the public hearing that he wants to build a fence on the section line, and has replaced old barbed-wire gates with newer, wider (32-foot) gates. He told commissioners he would like the road officially closed, and presented pictures that show the condition of existing fences and narrower (24-foot) gates that Stan and Steve Quigley say they need to move farm equipment.
Bamesberger said he is not denying access to Quigleys. "I have no problem with them using my land for access" to their land, he said.
"I'm not denying them access." Bamesberger asked why his wider gates were any different than going through xthe older, smaller gates.
Stan Quigley said it would be difficult, if not impossible, to access his property if Road 221 is closed. He told commissioners he is not allowed to use a road built by Quantum Oil that runs across his property, that he has never called oilfield company officials but that they have "just told me to stay off of them."
Steve Quigley said he uses the oilfield road for his pickup, but uses the south road for farm equipment because of its wider width.
Maury Green, the Quigleys' attorney, told commissioners that there is nothing before the board granting Quigleys use of the oilfield road without permission.
Stan Quigley asked commissioners who gave Bamesberger permission to erect the fence on the old road. Commissioner Leigh Hoyt told him that after the Bamesbergers purchased the land and had a survey completed, they thought they had the right to build a fence.
Quigley accused Bamesberger of trespassing to take the photographs he presented to commissioners, and disagreed with Gary Joseph, the real estate salesman who sold the land to the Bamesbergers, about locations of existing fences. Joseph said that in his research before the sale he found no indication that the road in question was an open public road.
Commission Chairman Earl McNutt told those present at the hearing, "We're not here to argue between each other," and said he wanted to "keep the meeting in order."
McNutt asked -- pointing out that his question in no way indicated a decision by himself or the board -- whether the Quigleys would be willing to sign an agreement with Bamesbergers allowing access from the old road, if commissioners decided to officially close the road.
Green said it would depend upon the final wording, but that they would most likely have no stated objection to that.
Stan Quigley then asked, "If you close the road, who owns the land?"
Red Willow County Attorney Paul Wood said the section line and the center of the old road would have to be located.
Dicenta said the section line has already been located, and it is where Bamesbergers are building their fence.
Steve Quigley said that a surveyor they contacted in Phelps County disagrees with the current section line location. Dicenta said that until and unless the two surveyors were to work out discrepancies, "at this point, the section line is where it is surveyed now. As of right now, the section line is where they (the Bamesbergers) built their fence."
Commissioners made no decision following the public hearing, but must, by statute, do so at their next meeting.
A decision will be announced and voted on, and no further public input allowed, at their Aug. 18 meeting, at 9:15 a.m.