Despite what the morning daily reported in late August, the public still has access rights to a road that goes through the luxury Saguaro Ranch development in the Tortolita Mountains. The dirt road is an extension of Thornydale Road that goes up a hill and is legally recorded as a public easement by the county. Neighbors have used the road for hikes and horse-riding for more than 40 years. (See “Tortolita Showdown,” Currents, May 22.)
While Judge John Davis did not grant a temporary injunction requiring Saguaro Ranch developer Stephen Phinny to remove the boulders he’s placed in front of the Thornydale extension, he also did not issue a judgment that denies residents and the public from walking on those roads.
This was good news for residents near Saguaro Ranch who’ve been bickering with Phinny over the last few years regarding access to that road. Phinny has told neighbors that the roads that run through his development are private, and he placed boulders at the entrances to keep people out.
Phinny’s neighbors, however, are still waiting for Davis to schedule a hearing in order to make a final decision through a declaratory judgment lawsuit they filed in June. A declaratory judgment is the only way to determine whether the road remains a public easement.
Saguaro Ranch neighbors have been getting the word out through a recently produced YouTube video (www.youtube.com/TortolitaEasements) with suggestions on how to ignore the boulders that Phinny placed at the road entrances, and tips on how to enjoy the Tortolita Mountains. The basic message: You won’t get arrested—even if Phinny or Saguaro Ranch employees say you will!
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