By Marissa Payne
Kirk Ferentz and wife Mary will head to trial at the Johnson County Courthouse in a lawsuit filed by three neighboring families, as first reported by the Associated Press.
The Ferentzes purchased land on the road in 2001, early on in his tenure as the football head coach. A long-running dispute between the Ferentzes and their neighbors began that year after neighbors John and Ann Marie Buatti proposed subdividing 20 acres of property for development, according to court documents.
The Buattis also wanted to resurface and extend the gravel road to give their children more space on which to ride their bikes. The Ferentzes objected mainly because of privacy concerns, and according to John Buatti’s deposition, Mary Ferentz told him, “You don’t understand who I am” to back up her opposition to the changes.
To settle the dispute, neighbors, including the Ferentzes, formed an agreement in 2001 to create a homeowners’ association, which was intended to establish guidelines for splitting road-maintenance costs.
Developer Gary Watts moved in after the Buattis subdivided their property, and Watts later paid to change the road surface to chip and seal in 2003 despite Mary Ferentz’s opposition.
The Saddle Club Road Homeowners’ Association was not formed until 2015, when the neighbors decided the road needed repairs.
Sixth District Court Judge Kevin McKeever determined in September 2017, however, that the Ferentzes were required to join an association under the 2001 agreement, but not the one formed in 2015 because it was structured differently from the association discussed in 2001.
A judge will rule Tuesday on whether the Ferentzes trespassed by planting trees and installing pavers that neighbors say intruded onto Saddle Club Road.