O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Property Confusion at Moneta


March 14, 2019

Michael Decker owns the property that is the site of the former Moneta School. Decker was present at the O’Brien County Supervisors meeting Tuesday March 5 to explain his wish to close access to his property. What is currently known as 357th Street is actually private property. Decker expressed his concern to close the drive to public access is part of several property issues that have arisen in the Moneta area in recent weeks.

Decker gave the board background information about how he came into ownership of the property, his security concerns leading to his request to close access to the drive and his future plans.

O’Brien County Attorney Rachel Becker and acting County Engineer Doug Julius were on hand to offer opinions to their respective offices about the closure. Although Decker explained that his attorney, Randy Cease, handled the sale of the property and took the position that a government cannot seize private property through “adverse possession” Becker countered that it is possible that a condition of prescriptive easement may possibly come into play over public use and access to the 357th Street. Julius expressed concern for snow issues. Supervisors were looking at public safety issues.

Decker addressed the snow removal concerns with an explanation of the neighbors and how access to their property might be affected. He also said he did not have any concern for snow being piled at the ends of the drive as it entered onto his property. The closure would not affect access for emergency vehicles to neighboring properties. There appears to be ample space for maintenance vehicles to turn around. The decision was made to allow the closure of 357th as a public street and return it to private property.

Further discussion of the requested purchase of an alley in Moneta was held, but did not get a vote. The closure of Main Boulevard East in Moneta also garnered more attention with Becker saying she needed to do more research to determine the county’s potential interest in the roadway, considered private property by Richard Wilson. Wilson erected a barricade at the property line northwest of the connection of B24 and Main Boulevard East. No decisions were made.


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