DOVER — City residents Mary and Rick Hebbard, who do not want their neighbors fixing potholes on their dirt road, have been denied their request for a preliminary injunction at Strafford County Superior Court.
The Hebbards own a home and business on Spruce Lane in Dover.
Old Garrison Road, a Class VI dirt road, runs past their farm and is used by neighbors John and Karen Brough.
The Broughs want to fill in potholes on a portion of the road that the Hebbards say belongs to them. Dover officials approved the roadwork in April.
At the same time, Mary Hebbard filed a motion for injunctive relief at the courthouse and received a temporary order to stop the work.
On Friday, Judge Mark Howard denied the request for a preliminary injunction.
“At one point, he grabbed a rake and shoved a worker off balance,” said Police Lt. Brant Dolleman.
A city couple who does not want potholes repaired on their dirt road says they are just trying to protect their property rights.
Howard explained that at this stage of the proceedings, his job is to determine whether the court should prevent the Broughs from maintaining the road and require that city officials retract the permit.
“The plaintiffs must demonstrate that the threat of harm to them is immediate and irreparable, that they are without an adequate remedy at law, and there must be a probability (rather than a substantial likelihood) that they will succeed on the merits,” Howard wrote in his order.
Howard wrote that the threat of harm to the Hebbards — that the road abutting their property will be maintained by the Broughs at their cost — is not sufficiently immediate and irreparable enough to grant the preliminary injunction.
Howard explained that if the plaintiffs ultimately prevail in this litigation, they have an adequate remedy at law because money damages can be paid to them if there is harm caused to their property due to the maintenance work.
Howard summarized by saying the Hebbards have not demonstrated a probability they will succeed on the merits of their claim.
“The law relating to the maintenance of Class VI roads favors the city and the Broughs,” Howard wrote.
Dover City Manager Michael Joyal shared Howard’s decision with city councilors on Friday night via email.
Joyal wrote that although the temporary injunction has been lifted, the underlying matter relating to use, maintenance and encroachment on Old Garrison Road will still have to proceed through the regular court process for a final adjudication of the overall issues.