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County road dispute settled by parties

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Ken Barbe, second from right, and Chad Barbe, right, at an August 2018 public auction at the Chaves County Courthouse. (Daily Record File Photo)

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Two Chaves County residents have reached an agreement that allowed the county to grant one of their requests to close a portion of a road that runs through a farm.

Tim Jennings, representing his family, and Ken Barbe, president of family-owned Adelante Farms LLC, informed the Chaves County Board of Commissioners at the group’s June 17 meeting that they had come to an agreement that removed objections to Adelante’s request to vacate, or close, about 1,710 feet of East Grand Plains Road from the Hagerman Canal to Oasis Road.

After hearing that an agreement had been reached, commissioners voted 4-0 for the closure, with Commissioner T. Calder Ezzell Jr. abstaining.

Adelante’s prior request to close 7,602 feet of Woodbine Way in the same area of Chaves County had been uncontested and was approved by commissioners on May 20. During that meeting, commissioners also voted to adopt, close or change the status of 12 other roads.

The disagreement between Barbe and Jennings was the only one this year discussed at public meetings and that resulted in a delay in a decision.

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Because the disagreement between the Jennings family and Barbe’s group had not been resolved, commissioners on May 20 tied in their vote on that matter, 2-2, which meant that the closure request was denied.

Jennings had appeared at two Board of Commissioners meetings prior to June 17 to say that he contested any closure unless his family members were ensured continued access to the road so they could get in and out of their adjacent property, which he said had been owned by their family since 1945 or 1946. He told commissioners that such access had always been provided to his family over the past decades.

“I can 100% understand why he wants to close the road,” Jennings said Monday. “I just wanted to make sure we had access to our property.”

He said Barbe had complained about people driving through his farm late at night and throwing debris on it.

Jennings indicated that access to his family’s property still will be available and that his family has made some agreements related to what happens if they sell their property.

“I gave some things he wanted, and he gave me some things I wanted,” Jennings said.

Barbe did not respond by press time to a phone message left at his office.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.