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Man Disputes Fence Built by St. Pius Church, Says he Can't Drive Home Anymore

10:33 PM, Nov 22, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nathaniel Tyus said getting to his home by vehicle is impossible, since the property is landlocked.

"I've been living here; my family has been living here," said Tyus.  

Tyus said for years he drove on Miller Lane, a private road, to his house. But Miller is now fenced off completely, denying access to the road.

"You can walk to it....There is a walkway, but ain't no way I can drive to it, no way I can get to it," he said.

The fence closing off Miller Lane was installed by nearby St. Pius Catholic School. The church owns most of the property next to Tyus' house.

Alexander Hice, a member of St. Pius and chair of the committee that oversees the facilities, said Tyus may own the house but he does not have rights to the private road.

"Mr. Tyus gave up his rights to Miller Lane when he gave up the property in 2003, so he has no rights whatsoever," said Hice. 

There's an easement deed dating back to 1959. But in 2003, Tyus and the church went to court and Tyus lost. He had to move his house to nearby property and according to a mediated settlement the Miller Lane easement was dissolved.

"We tried to be diplomatic about the whole thing,' said Hice. 

He said Tyus is in the wrong and that he needs to walk away, but Tyus is convinced Miller should remain open.

"Miller Lane is not supposed to be closed as long as there's a house on it," said Tyus.

The church is ready to take it to court again if they have to, said Hice.

In a statement, Christina Retzer, a spokesperson for the Diocese of St. Augustine said:

"The Diocese is in the midst of researching the issue. It would be inappropriate to comment before we get all details. Until these details are gathered, the diocese has no further comment." 

According to the city of Jacksonville real estate division, which reviews easements or public rights-of-way, this is a private road and a dispute between two property owners.

The city is not involved.



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