On the advise of its lawyer, Clay County will work toward a settlement in a lawsuit which claims the county took private property for use as a road. With the decision, a portion of Coody Lane, near Shannon will be closed.
William and Lisa Mozley of Denton own the property located at the end of Coody Lane. According to the official county road map approved by commissioners, Coody Lane extends past a gate to the property and ends near a cabin. Maps provided by the Nortex Regional Planning Committee show that Coody Lane ends at the gate. In September, William Mozley and the family’s attorney asked commissioners to close the section of road located on the property, ending Coody Lane at the gate.
During the September meeting, County Judge Kenneth Liggett said commissioners had no power to close the section of road because it had been opened by a jury of view.
Once on the property, the road runs alongside a neighboring property. The neighboring landowner had requested that the road remain open, leaving him the option of an additional entry point to his property.
A request to allow the neighbor, Bert Hoff, to join the lawsuit with the county was denied by a federal judge on the grounds that it would “assert private ownership into public concerns,” said Liggett.
The gate to Mozley’s property has been locked, though the county continued to maintain the road for many years. It has not been maintained since before 2010.
Attorney Bob Bass of Allison, Bass and Associates told Liggett that it would cost the county $3,000-$5,000 to settle with the Mozley family, but could cost an additional $15,000 if the suit goes to court.
Liggett said the county’s insurance would cover a monetary settlement once the county meets a $5,000 deductible.
On Monday, Commissioners gave approval for Liggett and Precinct 3 Commissioner John McGregor to negotiate the settlement.