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"Reasonable, passable access": Kanabec County board holds Hornet Street public hearing

The Kanabec County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on an impassable road petition in Hillman Township during Tuesday's meeting.

The heart of the issue is the north quarter mile of Hornet Street, which provides access to the home of residents Renee and Andy Crisman. The Hillman Township board of supervisors has denied maintenance for the gravel road.

According to Kanabec County chair Rickey Mattson, the hearing was limited to whether the county board has any jurisdiction to act on the petition in light of prior court decisions and state statutes.

Speaking as a representative of the township, Hillman supervisor Rick Martens shared a statement seeking no further actions from the county board.

"This first quarter-mile north of County Road 3 is the only portion of the road the township has legal right to," Martens said. "This has been determined by the courts through litigation and through Minnesota state statute."

Supporters of the Crismans sported matching green T-shirts in the boardroom. After the public hearing, Andy Crisman said the supportive apparel was planned by a family friend.

"It was a welcomed surprise," he said. "It's amazing, stuff like that; people reaching out, people spreading the word, people made flyers, people sent letters, people sent emails. It was amazing to see from the community."

Andy Crisman was among the speakers in favor of county board action in regards to the impassable road complaint.

"I stand before you as just a simple Minnesota farm kid," he said. "But also as a son, as a brother, as a husband, a father, and a veteran who is pleading with you for the most basic of rights: Reasonable, passable access on Hornet Street to our home."

After the hearing, Renee Crisman said the family isn't trying to reopen the case that's already been heard.

"These are all new events that have happened since the case was over," she said. "So we're hoping that the county board can see that and help us with the problem that we still have."

According to county coordinator Kris McNally, the board received 51 submissions for public record prior to the meeting.

The county board will receive further legal guidance and render a decision at the regular June 6 meeting.

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