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home : news : county/state news July 24, 2017

1/10/2017 7:27:00 AM
Oneida County opts not to enter legal battle with landowner

Nick Sabato
River News reporter

The Oneida County forestry, land and recreation committee went into closed session Wednesday to deliberate on three items. The committee acted on just one of those items, deciding to take no action regarding possible litigation for Burrows Lake Bridges and tabling the discussion on a Luber Lane (Rhinelander) cell tower contract until next month.

As for the third item, at the suggestion of forest director John Bilogan, the committee chose not to take legal action against the owner of a structure that is partly on county property in the town of Cassian. Instead, the town and county will work with the man to resolve the issue.

Bilogan explained that Mitchell Backes' family has owned property near the county forest for approximately 60 years. Roughly a decade ago, he built a garage and when the county received a request to maintain a town road that went through the forest, it was discovered that 90 percent of the garage was on county land.

"We agreed that we would work with the owner to come up with a solution that did not include lawsuits," Bilogan said. "Basically if we could work out a sale, we could go that route, but the sale of forest land isn't as simple as us. We still have to submit an application to the state for an approval of withdrawal."

Backes had stated prior to the committee entering closed session that he did not want to engage in a legal battle with Oneida County.

Nick Sabato may be reached at or via Twitter @SabatoNick.

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