Gentlemen's agreement fractures, and so does homeowner's driveway

Barrington Hills landowner removes neighbor's only access road

  • Joe Evans stands by the fence that crosses the road he had used to get to his Barrington Hills home. In the background are workers in the process of tearing up the driveway.

      Joe Evans stands by the fence that crosses the road he had used to get to his Barrington Hills home. In the background are workers in the process of tearing up the driveway. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
By Ben Geier
Updated 3/3/2011 5:33 PM

Joseph Evans has driven down the same road to get to his Barrington Hills home for years, a road he said had been there for 88 years, and which he paid to improve a few years ago. No more.

Earlier this month, his neighbor put a fence across the road. Last week, his neighbor started digging up the road, which Evans said leaves him with no viable way to drive to his house.

 

"Nobody seems to care," he said, adding that he doesn't even "know where to put my garbage."

Evans property is set far back from Brinker Road. Though his house is small, his property also includes a barn and a pool area. Evans said the road to his house crossed the property of Rick Hardy, who he said purchased the land on Brinker Road in 2009 and rents it out to a tenant.

At one time, Evans said, he rented his barn to Hardy, but Hardy eventually decided he wanted to take out the road running through his property to creating more grazing space for his horses. Evans estimates the extra space is about one-half of an acre.

Hardy could not be reached for comment, and his lawyer declined to comment. But it appears that his actions are legal.

Though residents of the area say they have used the road through Hardy's property for many years, it is not on the books as a legal easement, meaning Hardy is able to do with it what he wants.

Evans and another neighbor say they have made multiple attempts have been made to get the village to intervene. But Barrington Hills village President Bob Abboud is steadfast in his decision not to embroil the village in what he said is a private dispute.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Not the village's problem," he said. "This problem's been going on for at least a year. They need to solve it on their own."

The fire department, though is not happy.

"We've got a direct concern with that," Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said. "It shuts off our access to that particular property."

Though there is an easement going through neighbor Jack Reich's land that can be used to access Evans' property, it is covered with sod and has water pipes underneath the surface. The fire department will not use this route, Arie said.

"That's not a satisfactory solution for us because the patch of grass is not one that we're going to put our vehicles on," he said. "That's not a reliable path for us in wet weather, icy weather or snowy weather."

Abboud said the fire protection issue wouldn't affect the village's stance.

"The village has no statutory authority to provide a property owner emergency access," he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And when Hardy began digging up the road last week and the police were called, they informed Evans and other neighbors that they had no power to stop Hardy from digging up the road.

Evans said he has been trying to avoid litigation due to the potential cost, but it might be his only option since the village won't intervene. He'd hoped the issue would be resolved before the road was removed, he said.

"We've been hoping this would go to a court to figure this out; he decided to just do what he wants," said Evans, who for now is getting from his house to the road driving through a field.