Royalty Heights residents want part of street closed in Salvisa

February 12, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Residents of Royalty Heights, a street in Salvisa, want part of the street closed and claim M. Bennett Stenberg, the owner of an adjacent subdivision, Salvisa Heights, has violated earlier rulings to keep the street closed.

In 1995, Mercer County Fiscal Court ruled the street could be closed by the residents and a wire fence was put up to bar traffic from Salvisa Heights. Residents claim the street is too narrow for two-way traffic. It is about half of the street they want closed.

When Salvisa Heights subdivision was developed, residents were told by Fiscal Court that the street would remain closed. Paul Hughes, whose home sits at the intersection of Royalty Heights and Kirkwood Road, a main thoroughfare in Salvisa, told the Greater Harrodsburg/Mercer County Planning and Zoning Commission last week that when two cars meet on the road, one of them usually has to drive in his yard.


Several Royalty Heights residents spoke at Tuesday's Fiscal Court meeting, alleging that Stenberg has torn down barriers that bisect the street. When the barriers were in place, they made both ends of the street dead-end. That is what the Royalty Heights residents want.

After the wire fence was torn down, residents said they put up three plank fences that were torn down. Finally they hauled two loads of dirt to the street and planted trees. Someone tore them down, too.

Stenberg could not be reached for comment about the allegations.

The residents came to the zoning commission's meeting to argue against Stenberg building townhouses nearby, which, they said, would add more traffic to the street. Stenberg, through his attorney, Tebbs Moore, was seeking an advisory opinion about whether the townhouses could be built. That issue still is ongoing.

Residents followed up that meeting by going before the Fiscal Court. One of their beliefs was incorrect, Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler said. The road is not a private road, but one that is included in the county system. That does not preclude closing the street, Trisler said, and the court had ruled that could be done, possibly as early as 1995.

Mercer County Attorney Douglas Greenburg said the residents might have to take their case to Mercer Circuit Court in order to get their road closed. He said if had been since 1995 since the road was opened, then a lawsuit might be necessary. If the barrier has been down more than five years, the street could be considered open.

Residents questioned why they should have to go to the expense of hiring an attorney and going through a possibly expensive legal process when they had done nothing wrong.

"Are you saying that if I drive through your yard for five years, then it's mine?" asked Barbara Hughes.

Greenburg did not reply, and it was later determined that the last barrier had been torn down more recently than five years.

The court appointed a committee to investigate the situation and will revisit the issue at a later meeting. Trisler said Stenberg will have to be given notice that the street will be closed. That did not mean the court is taking Stenberg's side, but he will be told as a courtesy, the judge said.

Central Kentucky News Articles