JOHN T. SEYFARTH, JR.
ADAMS COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
OF JUDGMENT: 01/08/2018
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. HON. FORREST A. JOHNSON, JR. JUDGE.
COURT ATTORNEYS: PAUL ANDERSON KOERBER SCOTT FLETCHER SLOVER
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: PAUL ANDERSON KOERBER
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: SCOTT FLETCHER SLOVER
KING, P.J., COLEMAN AND BEAM, JJ.
The Adams County Board of Supervisors (Board) designated
Mount Airy Plantation Road as a public road, placing it on
the official county road register in 2000. John Seyfarth
petitioned the Board to abandon the portion of the road that
dead ends into his property. He alleged that people were
using the road to reach his property and trespass on it. The
Board declined to abandon the road, denied Seyfarth's
request for damages, and did not address his requests that
the Board take action to abate the nuisances he experienced.
Seyfarth appealed to the circuit court, which affirmed the
Board's decisions not to abandon the road and not to
award damages. But the circuit court ordered the Board to
reasonably abate any nuisances to Seyfarth. Seyfarth appeals
the circuit court's ruling to affirm the Board's
decision not to abandon the road and not to award damages,
and the Board cross-appeals the order that it abate any
nuisances. Because Seyfarth has no remedy on the record
before this Court, this Court affirms the circuit court's
judgment affirming the Board's decisions declining to
abandon the road and declining to award damages. But because,
on this record, the Board has no legal authority to abate any
nuisance in the manners suggested, this Court reverses and
renders the circuit court's order mandating that the
Board abate any nuisance.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In 1998, the Legislature passed a law that required each
county board of supervisors to prepare and adopt an official
map designating all public roads on the county road system on
or before July 1, 2000. Miss. Code Ann. § 65-7-4 (Rev.
2012). The Legislature's stated intent was that the
official record "shall include all public roads that the
board of supervisors determines, consistent with fact, as of
July 1, 2000, or such date the initial official record is
adopted, are laid out and open according to law." Miss.
Code Ann. § 65-7-4(6) (Rev. 2012). The Legislature
further explained that the legislative intent for the
proceedings and public hearing for the initial adoption of
are not intended to lay out, open, designate or otherwise
establish new public roads, but to document and record
existing roads which are, at the time of the initial adoption
of said map and register, adjudicated by the board,
consistent with fact, to be public roads by dedication, under
the methods provided by statute, or by prescription and
required by public convenience and necessity.
Miss. Code Ann. § 65-7-4.1 (Rev. 2012). On May 8, 2000,
the Adams County Board of Supervisors published notice that a
hearing would occur on June 5, 2000, regarding the official
county road system registry, as required by statute.
See Miss. Code Ann. § 65-7-4(3) (Rev. 2012).
The road registry designated which county roads were public
and which were private. The hearing occurred on June 5, 2000,
and the Board approved the designations on June 19, 2000.
Mount Airy Plantation Road, a road .58 miles long, was
included as a public road on the designation.
Mount Airy Plantation Road dead ends into property owned by
Seyfarth. The portion that traverses Seyfarth's land
provides access to only one other property, and that property
has a deeded perpetual easement and right-of-way over the
portion of the road that must be used to access it. Seyfarth
alleged that the public's use of the portion of the road
that dead ends onto his property has created a nuisance. Deer
guts were being dumped on his property, hunters have
trespassed and even constructed deer stands on Seyfarth's
property, and his cattle have been shot and injured.
In March 2014, Seyfarth twice approached the Board and asked
that a portion of Mount Airy Plantation Road be removed from
the county road system. Also in March 2014, several residents
and landowners along Mount Airy Plantation Road signed a
petition asking the Board to keep the road
public. On July 18, 2016, Seyfarth appeared before
the Board and requested that the Board abandon the portion of
Mount Airy Plantation Road that encroaches on his property,
declare a variance restricting public use of the portion of
the road, take action to abate the nuisances to
Seyfarth's property caused by the road, and/or provide
just compensation to Seyfarth for the encroachment on his
property. There was testimony that the road had been
maintained by the general public since the 1980s. Moreover,
the other landowner using the road objected to its
abandonment. The Board declined to abandon the portion of the
road at issue, and it found that Seyfarth's request for
damages was untimely. Seyfarth filed a Petition for Bill of
Exceptions and Other Relief in the Adams County Circuit
Court, appealing the Board's decision. The circuit court
affirmed the Board's decisions not to abandon the portion
of the road and not to award damages. However, the ...