Anniversary nearing in road dispute

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  • (Photo by KEITH KINNAIRD/FILE) The Deen residence is seen in the background in a dispute over Shadow Valley Lane near Clark Fork.

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    (Photo by KEITH KINNAIRD/FILE) An aerial view of Shadow Valley Lane.

  • (Photo by KEITH KINNAIRD/FILE) The Deen residence is seen in the background in a dispute over Shadow Valley Lane near Clark Fork.

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    (Photo by KEITH KINNAIRD/FILE) An aerial view of Shadow Valley Lane.

CLARK FORK — The one-year anniversary is nearing on a settlement agreement that cast a pall of litigation over Shadow Valley Lane.

The saga began 2015 with Bonner County’s assertion that a home was built within a public right of way without a building location permit, which was later sold to Matthew and Elizabeth Deen, who sued the county over its determinations and insistence on removing the encroachments.

An adjacent housing development by the home’s original owners, David and June Walker, appeared to have provoked the matter because the development was to be served by Stoney Brook Lane. Stoney Brook, however, was determined to be a private road, which prompted the county to argue that Shadow Valley was always a public route originally known as Brush Road.

The disputes generated at least three lawsuits in 1st District Court until the spring of 2018, when a global settlement was reached as a trial neared.

Under the terms of the agreement, a right-of-way exchange was conducted and the road was routed around the home. A declaratory judgment was also entered which essentially exempted the home from encroachment, setback and location permit requirements, according to the release and settlement agreement.

Under the agreement, the Deens and Walkers pay the engineering and construction costs of the bumped-out section of road, in addition to $10,000 to cover any fees related to building location, road-building and setback variance fees.

The agreement dismisses all claims with prejudice, which means they can’t ever be revived. The plaintiffs and the county also released their respective claims and covered their own legal fees, the agreement said.

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