CLINTON — The Clinton County Board of Supervisors rejected a petition seeking assessed road improvements to 360th Avenue during its regular meeting Monday.

The board held a continuation of the public hearing, which originally was begun during last week’s meeting, to discuss proposed improvements to a portion of 360th Avenue, approximately 1,500 linear feet of road south from 292nd Street past the entrance to the Randall Martens property. The petition was presented by Martens and signed by his father, Lawrence Martens, but not neighbors Paul and Sharon Leonard, owners of the third property affected by the assessment. The petition asked for grading and surfacing with aggregate material, improving 360th Avenue from a level B road to a level A road.

According to an engineer’s report performed by County Engineer Todd Kinney, Randall Martens is the primary beneficiary of the improvement and therefore was assessed to have more than 72 percent of the cost, or $10,108. Lawrence Martens would be responsible for 18.5 percent of the cost, or $2,590, and the Leonards would pay $1,302, or 9.3 percent of the cost.

Board Chairman Grant Wilke began the discussion by stating that he appreciates input from anyone, even if it is in disagreement with his opinion or the opinion of the board, and stated he wanted to address some concerns that had been raised over comments made during the previous public hearing.

“I just want to say publicly that any comment is never meant to be unfair or disrespectful to anybody,” Wilke said.

“If that is the appearance I apologize for that, because it’s not meant to be. It’s just that we take the facts and what we have to go by. And sometimes our personal opinions are different than what the rules or laws state, and that’s what we have to follow.”

Supervisor Jill Davisson noted that although 360th Avenue is a class B road, it is still maintained, just at a different level. She added that she feels the board has three options concerning the issue, including approving the petition and improving 360th Avenue to a level A road, establishing a centerline, vacating the road, and paying damages to those residents who would subsequently be landlocked, or do nothing, which she stated she did not consider an option, because “nothing isn’t working right now, obviously. It’s creating problems.”

Davisson added that she had a problem with “saying to somebody, ‘I’m going to make you pay for this road, and I’m not going to make this guy pay for his road,’” and added that she felt the county would come out ahead by vacating the road and paying damages, sparing future maintenance costs. She stated she would vote “no” on the petition unless Martens, who brought the petition to the board, could convince her otherwise. Martens declined to comment.

Wilke stated he feels the county is currently in a “financial crisis” maintaining its existing roads, and felt he would be unjustified in voting to add another one.

“It would be very difficult for me to increase our maintenance costs or improvement costs on any road in the county at this time,” Wilke said.

Supervisor Dennis Starling stated he felt the reason the board was discussing the petition was because of “a lot of misinformation going out all over the place,” causing turmoil for nearly a year and a half.

“I’m very, very sorry that it has come to this point, especially between neighbors,” Starling said. “Life is too short to live next to someone and not talk to them.”

Davisson asked Kinney what his recommendation would be, and he replied he felt the best option was to vacate the road and pay damages. He advised scheduling a meeting with the property owners to work to secure easements to allow each an ingress/egress to their property. He added that once the vacation was complete, the road would be private property. Kinney reiterated the fact that the county would be well within its rights to vacate the road, and pay damages to those who are landlocked.

“But it’s a lot easier if we get cooperation and get the easements,” Kinney said.

He added that he has a “philosophical issue” with people living on a level B road, and feels if a vacation agreement can’t be reached, the road should be improved to a level A.

Wilke, Starling and Davisson voted “no” on the resolution to improve 360th Avenue, with Davisson stating, “I would either support a vacation, or the county making it a level A road. We’re going to do it right, one way or the other.”