Cape Girardeau County officials seek legal opinion on road easement

Friday, August 29, 2008

Since April, Earl Reisenbichler has been trying to straighten out a problem with a road easement for his property on County Road 522.

On Thursday, the Cape Girardeau County Commission agreed to seek a legal opinion on the matter.

Reisenbichler said he and his wife were surprised to receive a copy of the signed, notarized and recorded easement April 1.

"All we signed in 2000 was permission for them to put the road on the list for the possibility of it to be paved," he said Thursday evening. "It was brought around by a neighbor. We did not sign an easement."

According to Robb McClary, assistant to the commissioners, the Reisenbichlers did sign it, but the notarized document was not recorded until this year.

Reisenbichler said he was not present when the document was notarized.

In a memo McClary delivered to commissioners on Thursday, he asks to get legal advice on "how best to respond to the Reisenbichlers allegations, concerns and refusal to signed a corrected easement."

In 2004, the Reisenbichlers placed their property in a trust, effectively changing the title to the property and, according to McClary, casting the validity of the 2000 easement in doubt.

In 2006, County Road 522 was paved. Reisenbichler said he's not upset about the pavement.

"I would like for them to file a piece of paper saying it was illegal and there is no easement against this property," he said.

McClary told the commissioners one option is to do nothing and see if the Reisenbichlers will follow through with a lawsuit. The commissioners agreed to get a legal opinion but disagreed as to who should provide it. Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones and 1st District Commissioner Larry Bock wanted to hear from Morley Swingle, the commission's attorney; 2nd District Commissioner Jay Purcell asked that a real estate specialist be hired. Purcell told Jones and Bock he was not confident in Swingle's opinion on road easements.

Jones told McClary to talk to Swingle first but return to the commission if Swingle felt a specialist was needed.

Reisenbichler said he is not sure what legal action he might take but since receiving the copy of the easement in April, "I sign my name in a different way."

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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