2/9/2018 11:29:00 AM Cass Commissioners decline to get involved in road dispute
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
WALKER-Six people who use Plantain Trail Northwest in Pine Lake Township to access their property Tuesday asked the county board to order their town board to improve the road.
Pine Lake Town Board has refused to accept Plantain Trail as a town road.
Cass County commissioners voted not to get involved in the issue, because it has not been determined by a court that the township has an obligation to do so.
The county believes at this point it does not have authority to act on the issue.
In 2016, former owners of the land where the road lays, Daniel and Michele Piprude, conveyed the land to the public by quit claim deed.
John Valen, a Walker attorney retained by Leonard and Virginia Zimmer, who live on Plantain and are among the petitioners, told the county board he believes a Mower County court case set a precedent that makes the township responsible for its maintenance.
In his view of that case, he believes it is the township's job to maintain it whether or not they accept it.
The issue arose, because the road has poor drainage and becomes difficult to pass over at many times of the year with the amount of traffic using it.
Photos of the gravel road in March 2017 and November 2016 show it with standing water and deep tire ruts in the gravel.
Kyle Hartnett, Minneapolis attorney for Pine Lake Township, argues the township has no responsibility to maintain the road until adjacent landowners bring the road up to town road standards and the town board accepts it as a township road.
Unlike many similar situations, this road was never part of a plat, but rather conveyed to the public by quit claim deed. It was never designated in a registered plat.
Hartnett contends it is a cartway dedicated to public use, but the township has no obligation to accept or maintain it.
If the petitioners wish to pursue this further, they will need to have the court clarify whether or not it is a town road before anyone can proceed to make improvements to the road.
In a second hearing Tuesday on a citizen-raised issue, the county board established payments to landowners along a newly designated cartway for the taking of 16.5 feet of land along a section line in the unorganized are of northern Cass County.
Mark Dorholt petitioned for the cartway to reach property he owns. The cartway passes along the edge of property owned by Cass County, Blandin and David and Samantha Nikkel.
The county required Dorholt to provide money to pay for an appraisal of the land and to compensate the county, Blandin and the Nikkels for taking 16.5 feet from the edge of their properties for form the 33-foot cartway.
The appraiser was paid from Dorholt's money, which the county is holding.
Tuesday, based on the appraisal, the county board ordered that $500 be paid to the county and $1,000 be paid each to Blandin and the Nikkels.
Any of the parties involved have 40 days to appeal the awards to district court.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.