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Lincoln County commissioners deny request to vacate road, citing concerns over public access
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Lincoln County commissioners deny request to vacate road, citing concerns over public access

The Lincoln County commissioners on Monday denied Richard and Kim Konyak’s request to vacate a portion of Sea Street within Jeffrey Fjords Subdivision.

The couple brought the petition to the board Nov. 30, and the board asked Highway Superintendent Carla O’Dell to examine the property and report back.

In a report Dec. 14, O’Dell said the road originally was to be graded to a minimum width of 24 feet, but when she measured it, “the best I could come up with was 12- to 15-foot road top. (It was) kind of varied in there, with no shoulders and there seems to be many encroachments on the county road right of way.”

At a public hearing Monday, the Konyaks and their neighbors John and Jane Knippenberg presented their thoughts.

“We talked to (a number of homeowners) there about this petition and no one had any objection to having that vacated,” Richard Konyak said, adding that most people didn’t know there was a boat ramp there.

However, the Knippenbergs said they did object.

“The Konyaks did not inform us about the petition, and if it wasn’t for our neighbors, we wouldn’t have known what was going on and what their intentions were,” John Knippenberg said. “They told people who signed the petition that it was just wasted land and wouldn’t affect anybody, but it absolutely does affect us and concerns us what they do with the land within 17 feet of our house.”

Commissioner Kent Weems said he drove out to the area in question.

“I’m not sure personally that the boat ramp question is really my issue,” Weems said. “My issue would be setback from other property owners, and vacating any public right of way gives me cause to be concerned.”

He also raised issues of access for emergency responders and the public if the road were vacated.

“That’s my concern, why give up the room for a firetruck to turn around,” Weems said. “Once that is relinquished, we can’t get it back without an act of Congress.”

Kim Konyak said the petition would not change access.

“The only thing I can say about your firetruck access is nothing is changing,” Kim Konyak said. “Access to the roads, nothing is changing as far as having access.”

The portion of property in question wouldn’t restrict access, she said.

“It’s just a small part of the road that we’re asking to be vacated,” Kim Konyak said. “It’s probably no longer than (the Commissioners Room) and sits right in front of our house.”

The commissioners voted 5-0 not to grant the petition to vacate.

Jail project

Also Monday, the commissioners approved six change orders for the Lincoln County Detention Center addition and remodeling project. Commissioner Joe Hewgley did not vote because he is the architect of record for the project.

One of the change orders involved correcting a problem that was discovered with the lighting and protection system.

“They were moving existing lighting and protection systems and ground rods,” said Tom Werblow, who was appointed to oversee the project for the county. “They had to disconnect part of that when they did the addition, so then they had to reconnect that.”

The total price on the electrical change order was $13,000.

“There were some particular problems that compromised the main electrical supply into the building,” Commissioner Jerry Woodruff said. “The decision was made it needed to be done correctly.”

Woodruff said a grounding rod that went down into the ground penetrated three conduits carrying the main electrical cables.

“Instead of just patching those, it appears the best thing to do is to rerun the wires,” Woodruff said. “(Rather than) just hope and pray that one of those cables hasn’t been compromised.”

Weems asked if the grounding rod problem was from prior construction and Woodruff answered in the affirmative.

“It’s hard to believe they could drive a grounding rod down through three conduits and not have somebody knocked on their butt,” said Commissioner Bill Henry.

“There were not a lot of people standing in line to pull that rod out,” Woodruff said, “as I was told.”

Other business

In other action, the board:

» Selected Weems to be the board chairman for 2021 and Woodruff the vice chairman.

» Authorized Weems to sign the July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022, Victims of Crime Act grant application presented by Cindy Korf, victim witness director. Korf said 2020 was an unusual year and that in the final quarter from October through December, “there were more crimes for a quarter in the last 20 years. It was like a powder keg exploding.”

» Set the date of 9:45 a.m. Jan. 25 to receive food service proposals for the Detention Center.

» Tabled an item to accept bids for a tractor and mower for the Lincoln County Department of Roads to allow for more research.

» Approved the use of the D&N Center for the county public tax sale March 1.

» Appointed The North Platte Telegraph to publish legal notices in 2021 for the county.

» Set the mileage rate at 56 cents per mile, down from 575 cents last year, as per the Nebraska Dept. of Administrative Services.

» Adopted a resolution authorizing the county treasurer to invest funds for 2021.

» Authorized Weems to enter into an agreement with Maximus to provide professional consulting services from Dec. 1, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2026.

» Approved the reappointment of Tyrell Rousey, Stacy Kuhlman, Tina Golter and Sara Wiseman to the Lincoln-Logan-McPherson Counties Extension Board for three-year terms. They also approved the appointment of Lana Webster to replace Tim Vaughn on the Extension board.

The county board will be working through various board and committee assignments with commissioners dividing up the responsibilities.

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