After objections from the county, the Duquesne Homeowners Association is removing gates it put up on Old Duquesne Road south of Patagonia.
The gates were installed on the road, along with signs warning travelers the road goes through a private residential community, after years of disturbances by hunters, rock-hounds, and drivers of all-terrain vehicles, according to the homeowners association.
The issue arose at the Dec. 4 meeting of the County Board of Supervisors when Richard Goacher, a Kino Springs resident and professional land surveyor, notified the board members that surveys of the area indicated the road was actually owned by the county.
After the county checked its records, some of which dated back to the early 1900s, Public Works Director Jesus Valdez concluded the county still owned the road.
Since being notified by the county that the road was county-owned, the association plans to take down the gates and work with the county to find other options, said Bill Eimers, president of the Duquesne Homeowners Association.
“We have been trying for years to figure out whose road that was,” Eimers said. Prior to putting up the gates, the association was told by the county that no records could be found showing the county owned the road.
“We operated completely in good faith,” Eimers said, adding the discussions with the county are going amicably and county staff has been “very helpful.”
The residents decided to put up the gates after seeing hunters standing on the road firing into private property, he said. In addition, all-terrain vehicles were being driven on private land and people were trespassing on the nearby ghost town, which is private property.
Rock-hounds also proved to be a nuisance, with one man attempting to use a backhoe to dig up rocks on private property, Eimers said.
However, the main reason for putting up the gates was to preserve the condition of the road. The association pays about $7,500 each year to grade roads in the area, he said.
A portion of the road passes through U.S. Forest Service land, but a USFS spokeswoman said it would be acceptable for the homeowners association to block off one side of Old Duquesne Road so the USFS would still have access to Bonanza Road.