Thursday, June 17, 2021

BOCC to address Burke neighborhood complaint

Staff Reporter | June 8, 2021 7:00 AM

WALLACE — After a recent site visit, and then a few days to discuss the matter amongst themselves, the Shoshone Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) took the first steps in rectifying some recent complaints from a local resident.

Minde Beehner had submitted a lengthy list of complaints to both the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Prosecuting Attorney Keisha Oxendine, in April of this year concerning various encroachments and what she called "nuisances" in the area of the Tomsche Avenue corridor in Burke Canyon.

Beehner had also filed a similar complaint in October 2019.

Among the list of offending encroachments and nuisances were trees, water spigots, utility poles, a basketball hoop, a garage, fences, and other various common neighborhood fixtures.

The BOCC got a firsthand look at the site a few weeks ago and Chairman Mike Fitzgerald believes that there is some merit within the complaint, but now has to figure out what should be done — if anything — to rectify it.

“When we went into the field that day, there were some pretty obvious encroachments,” said BOCC Chairman Mike Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald also cited concerns over how various property lines and other boundaries seem unclear once you get into the small residential neighborhood.

To figure that part of the equation out, Fitzgerald would like to see the completion of a recent property survey that was commissioned by the county but wasn’t finished after the person conducting the survey left the firm he was working with, then asked for more money from the county to complete it under his new firm.

Beehner alleged in her emailed complaint to Oxendine that the BOCC has been able to rectify the issues for some time but simply hadn’t.

“Many of these complaints should have and could have been addressed in the past 18 months while the BOCC spent over ($)12k on ‘surveying’ costs in this area and ended up with maps and a legal description,” Beehner wrote. “The county has the information to say that items I have brought up are encroachments, yet practically nothing has been done.”

The BOCC will also be enlisting the help of engineer Jim Roletto and plan on having him record his thoughts on the entire area and what he believes needs to be done to rectify Beehner’s complaints.

“He (Roletto) will be able to give us some valuable pointers on what’s in and what’s out,” Fitzgerald said. “He’ll also be able to point out any safety hazards and the measures needed to rectify them.”

Fitzgerald thanked the Beehners, who were in attendance at a Thursday morning meeting at the Shoshone County Court House, for guiding them through the list of complaints. He was open about seeing things in person is definitely helpful when it comes to making decisions on matters such as these.

According to the BOCC, the way the they handle situations like these is to look at three things: Do the issues cause a problem for the roadway and its function as a roadway? Does it cause a safety issue? Or is it hampering any sort of development in the area?

The BOCC concluded the Thursday meeting with a motion that included working with Oxendine’s office to complete the unfinished survey and to dispatch Roletto to the site to gather information and submit his recommendation(s) — which was unanimously approved.

“I want to resolve this as quick as I can,” Fitzgerald said. “These things seem to take an awful lot of people’s time. I know I’ve seen a lot of public requests for information, just for that neighborhood in general.”