River Oak, Linton residents in civil dispute
by Franklin Clark -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Apr 29, 2009 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Trigg County and seven Linton residents were named as co-defendants in a civil case that was filed by River Oak, a land-owning company that also does logging, regarding several gates placed on what Linton residents said are county roads. The named defendants are all from the Underwood family.

Burton Washburn III, a Paducah attorney representing River Oak, said he also filed an appeal of the decision of the Trigg County Fiscal Court’s April 2 action bringing the road popularly known as Fire Tower Road into the county maintenance system. He said the actions bringing Skinner Road and Donnie Lane into the county system will be addressed separately.

Washburn, in the 13-page lawsuit document, says that the roads in question have been maintained by River Oak, and before that West Vaco, and have never been maintained by the county.

Trigg County Attorney H.B. Quinn, at last week’s Fiscal Court meeting, said he has tried to set up a hearing with Trigg County Judge C.A. “Woody” Woodall to get an injunction against River Oak in order to open the gates and right of ways until the court case can be settled.

At the previous fiscal court meeting, Linton resident Jim Carter said the company has been blatantly ignoring the county’s decision to accept several roads in the Linton area in the county road plan, and has even dug at least one or two trenches into roads such as McCoy Hollow Road.

Marvin Underwood and other residents of Linton, at previous meetings, have said that River Oak had gates put up on some roads in their community that block access to their properties. Several of the residents also said the River Oak hasn’t given them keys to the locks on the gates.

The lawsuit alleges that Marvin Underwood damaged one of the gates, and that as a result, River Oak stopped allowing him to use the private road. The suit goes on to allege that Underwood has continued to use the private road and continues to damage River Oak property.

Some of the roads on the list that was accepted by the court at last week’s meeting, such as Fire Tower Road, Skinner Road and Donnie Lane, which are in the Linton community, were the subject of much discussion during two previous fiscal court meetings.

Carter told the fiscal court that the county should fix the roads and send a bill to River Oak. Quinn said that River Oak isn’t seeking any money from the county and is trying to make it clear that the roads in question are private roads.

Washburn said he didn’t know of anyone other than Marvin Underwood who had complained that the gates blocked access to their properties, nor did he know anything about the trenches.

Washburn said the roads in question are private roads. Fire Tower Road was abandoned by the county long ago and is privately owned by River Oak, which has maintained it since gaining West Vaco ceased to own it, the attorney said, adding that Skinner Road and Donnie Lane are roads that West Vaco improved for logging purposes in the 1980s.

Humphries has said that West Vaco originally put up the gates, and that the gates that went up were, at the time, going to be temporary, and were also going to build and maintain roads in the area to better transport logs. Humphries added it was his understanding that the gates were put up to keep out trespassers and to stop illegal dumping and littering.
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