An Appellate Court recently resolved a dispute as to whether a roadway was a private driveway (as claimed by the owner of property on both sides of the road) or a public roadway (as claimed by the county and an intervening party who argued the road provided access to other property, upholding the trial court’s ruling that the roadway was a public road. Hicks v. Pope County Board
After the county informed the plaintiffs that they had to remove certain obstructions from the roadway, the plaintiffs filed suit to ask the trial court to declare the roadway as a private driveway. The county presented evidence to support its argument that it was a public road, including the county plat book, topographical maps, traffic maps, highway maps, and various other records to support its argument that the road was, in fact, public. The county also presented witnesses who testified that they had used the road for decades until the plaintiffs obstructed it. The plaintiffs testified that they had maintained the road since they moved to the property and had improved it from a dirt road to a gravel road at their expense. The trial court held that the evidence supported the county’s argument that the road was public prior to the plaintiffs moving to their property and ruled in favor of the county. The plaintiffs appealed and the Appellate Court upheld the ruling in favor of the county that the road was public.