Gentry Lane validated through ‘preponderance of evidence’

Philip A. Janquart
After a protracted and contentious dispute over its use, Washington County commissioners on Monday voted to validate Gentry Lane as a county road.
 The move came as hostilities between landowners began to reach a boiling point. 
 Though there are many components that comprise the issue, the condensed version involves one side claiming the road, located four miles north of Weiser, is private property and the other claiming residents have the right to use it in order to access their homes.
 Gentry Lane is the only access point for homeowners. 
 A public hearing intended to collect evidence in support of, or in opposition to, validation was held Dec. 11 at the Vendome in Weiser. Dozens attended the hearing where many perspectives and details were voiced, though not all.
 “The reason I’m supporting the validation is that we have documentation from Washington County Road and Bridge that Gentry has been maintained by grading the road, plowing snow, installing culverts, mowing, and tree trimming,” said commissioner Nate Marvin who served as chair during Monday’s meeting.
 Commission Chair Lyndon Haines recused himself from discussion, citing an employment relationship between his wife and Sam Lancaster’s wife.  
 Lancaster bought 350 acres of property east of Gentry Lane previously owned by resident Terry Moye.
 The Lane in question runs through Moye’s property and is accessed by homeowners and maintained by the county.
 Moye and Lancaster, who developed land where new homes now sit, have been at odds concerning the road ever since Lancaster purchased the 350 acres in 2020. An article in the Dec. 13 issue of the Signal American incorrectly stated that Moye sold the parcel directly to Lancaster. However, county records show that it has changed hands multiple times. The chain of ownership dates back, in part, to 1996 when Moye sold it to John and Patricia Carnig. In 2011, they sold it to Reynolds Property out of Rexburg, which turned around and sold it to Bernie Weldon who sold it to Lancaster in 2020.
That is purportedly the approximate period when the issue over Gentry Lane began and subsequently continued to fester, with many confrontations between various property owners.
“The records document maintenance on Gentry Lane at least back to 1980, signed letters from employees that have performed maintenance on Gentry Lane,” Marvin said. “We have documentation from Washington County Road and Bridge that Gentry Lane, from Highway 95 to the turnaround east of Moye’s, a distance of .633 [miles] has been receiving highway user funds for maintenance of Gentry Lane, records show, from 2013 to 2023.”
Under Idaho code, a county has the option of validating a road if maintenance was provided at least five years in a 30-year span, making it an official county road.
Marvin said that, “We have a letter from Idaho Power Company stating that they use Gentry Lane to access their power lines and facilities that serve customers on Gentry Lane. If that road were vacated, that would require constructing new roads, acquiring new easements, and moving infrastructure to serve their customers. This in turn would cause extended power outages.”
He also cited families testifying in favor of validation of Gentry Lane based on the need for emergency services, such as law enforcement, fire, and ambulance. At least one family, he said, has a “very sick family member” that relies on home health care services, home medical supplies deliveries, and packages delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS.
“Propane deliveries for home heating is a major concern this time of year,” Marvin stated. “Their family has suffered hardship over this section of road through Moye’s property. They requested that we use the highway user funds to maintain the right-of-way as it should be.”
The Moye’s apparently installed gates at one point, allegedly providing keys to some homeowners, but not others.
Marvin cited earlier agreements for use of the road.
“We have three documents signed by Terry Moye and recorded in Washington County,” he said. “One is a personal representative deed recorded May 13, 2009. The second one is a quitclaim deed recorded Aug. 19, 2014. Another quitclaim was recorded Nov. 2, 2022. All documents have the words ‘subject to the right-of-way of existing county road known as Gentry Lane.’”
On the other side of the coin, Marvin said, “The Moye’s have experienced hardship due to animals being run over by vehicles using Gentry Lane,” and that “One resident states that the county road department has not been maintaining Gentry Lane as was indicated on the road and bridge records.”
Nevertheless, he said, “Several people were not in favor of the validation, but did not have any documents or facts to substantiate their stance on this.”
Gordon Wilkerson said the issue really had its beginning many decades ago when the Moye family decided to sell for the first time.
“We make choices that are good and choices that affect us the rest of our lives,” he said. “And this issue started in the early 1980s when the Moye’s chose to sell property that was beyond their property that was landlocked. It sounds rough, but the fact remains that the Moye’s chose to sell that land and give easement.
“No one knew at that time that a development … was going to happen beyond that and, at this point in time, the preponderance of evidence shows me that everybody traveling through the Moye’s barnyard has a right to travel through it. By state statute, it is required that they grant easement to the property that they sold. By not validating this road … you’re going to landlock people.”
Wilkerson, citing safety concerns for both humans and animals, added that validation gives the county authority to move the road.
“It is obvious to me, this is not the location for that easement,” he said. “By validating this road, it then gives the county the power and authority to move that road to a better, safer location.”
Most importantly, he added, is arriving at the end of a dispute that has torn a community apart.
“I’m tired of fighting,” he said. “It’s time to heal.”


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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