The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Commissioners address disputes from neighbors


November 21, 2019

Wahkiakum County Commissioners Dan Cothren and Mike Backman were asked to adjudicate neighborhood disputes at their meeting Tuesday. [Commissioner Gene Strong was out of town at a statewide meeting of county officials.]

The first dispute involved the commissioners.

Cathlamet resident Jim Kolberg asked the board to trim trees along the property line between his house and the Johnson House on Division Street.

The trees drop debris, and one leaning tree hovers dangerously over the skylight in his bedroom, Kolberg said. He added that he had approached members of the board individually some time ago and nothing has been done.

Commissioners acknowledged the problems but said they wanted to see what comes out of the offer from Port District 1 to lease the Johnson House property, eventually buy the house and assume the responsibility for the trees.

"Rather than kicking the can down the road, why don't you just take care of the problem," Kolberg said. "I feel like I'm getting a runaround."

"Let's wait for the port," Cothren said. "You might say we're kicking the can down the road, but I'm just looking out for the county."

County Building Inspector David Hicks commented that the estimated cost of removing the trees, small cedars, is $9500.

"Let's go through the process [with Port 1]," Cothren said. "We'll remedy this thing."

A petition to create a private road name brought another dispute between neighbors to the board.

Hicks presented the petition to create Osprey Knoll Lane, which would connect with East Valley Road. The road has served one family, the Churches, as a driveway for several years; they have an East Valley Road mailing address.

Now, another family, the Browns, has purchased property adjacent to the Churches. The driveway runs on an easement through the Brown's property. The Browns plan to build a residence using the driveway for access, and they've asked to have a mailing address, needed to obtain electrical power. Public works Department officials explained that under county ordinance, they needed to name the driveway as a private road because there will be at least two residences on the road. The Browns consulted with other owners of property and came up with the name Osprey Knoll Lane. Jamie Brown said the name honors a family member.

However, the Churches don't support the petition.

"We don't want to change our address," said Melody Church. She said the Browns and other property owners could use another existing access to East Valley Road.

"This is driven by our county code," said Public Works Director Chuck Beyer. "We have to have an address, and that's a deeded easement. It was one residence; now it has been developed and there are more, so it needs a name, according to the county code."

Commissioners said they would decide the matter next week. Cothren said the board had received an analysis from the prosecuting attorney, and he needs time to read it.

"We'll get it on next week's agenda so we have a chance to go back and see what the attorney wrote," he said.


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