A rarely used state statute allows county commissioners to be designated as “fence viewers” in a case where fences and property lines come into question.

A rarely used state statute allows county commissioners to be designated as “fence viewers” in a case where fences and property lines come into question.

In Crawford County, commissioners had to use this statute — K.S.A. 29-201 — in a recent matter concerning the repair of a fence in the rural part of Crawford County, on the border with Bourbon County.

The issue was not whether the fence needed repair so that it could be used to contain cattle on agriculture land — both parties agreed to that — however, the issue was how much of the 1/2-mile fence was each of the two landowners responsible for fixing?

So, County Counselor Jim Emerson, County Commissioner Bob Kmiec and County Surveyor Ron Albertini were dispatched to the area in question to make that very determination.

In the end, it was determined that each landowner had an equal part of the fence to repair before the land in question could be rented to contain cattle.

“It seemed that there was an agreement that the fence needed to be fixed,” said Commissioner Linda Grilz. “The issue was how it was going to be done.”

Under the statute, the county commissioners in each county, or their designees, can be fence viewers in each township of the county. Those fence viewers present recommendations to the county commission for approval.

The additional ruling stated that each landowner had 30 days to complete the repair of their section of the fence.

“If we didn’t have this in writing, after the 30 days, we may just have had to start all over again,” Emerson said.

Each landowner has approximately 1,300 feet of fence to repair.

“We just assigned what parts of the fence each landowner will have to fix,” Emerson said.

The last part of the provision leads to how the fence will be fixed and there are guidelines as to the manner of which it will be done.

Emerson said that should not be an issue in this case.

“There’s a minimum in the statute,” Emerson said. “But, both parties agreed that the fence needed fixed.”
In other business, commissioners:

• approved a drawdown request in the amount of $114,774.92 to Heartland Midwest for work on the Franklin sewer district project;

• approved a request for payment to Kramer Engineering in the amount of $25,620 for work on the Franklin sewer district project.

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140