Trail foes file criminal complaints against Volusia council members

Sheryl Manche, Founder of, left, and property owner Catherine Peavy, look over maps and documents earlier this year in Osteen. Manche, Peavy and Peavy’s husband Byron have filed criminal complaints against several Volusia County council members and staff over the county’s use of land to build a cross-county trail. The county strongly disputes their claims.
News-Journal file/DAVID MASSEY

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 7:52 p.m.
Opponents of a Volusia County land claim in rural Osteen, still angry about a new public bicycle trail encroaching onto what they thought was private land, this week took the unusual step of filing criminal complaints against four County Council members and a few other government officials.
The complaints, each about 50 pages long and ranging from allegations of malfeasance to constitutional rights violations, named council members Pat Northey, Pat Patterson, Doug Daniels and Deb Denys, along with two county employees and two state transportation officials.
On Friday, a State Attorney’s Office spokesman said they were reviewing the case. The county sought, received and reviewed its own copy of the complaint and called it a broad misunderstanding of the law. “None of the allegations state a crime even were they correct otherwise,” County Attorney Dan Eckert said in an email after reviewing the documents. “They are not.”
It was filed by Osteen residents Sheryl Manche and Byron and Catherine Peavy, three of the most outspoken opponents of Volusia’s use of the Murphy Act to claim land along Osteen-Maytown Road for the latest leg of the East Central Regional Rail Trail.
“We have been working behind the scenes for many months trying to stop the County from taking your neighbor’s properties on Osteen Maytown Rd.,” Catherine Peavy said in an email this week after Manche filed the complaints Monday. “Unfortunately, we could not get the officials to stop their unlawful actions even though we tried to meet with them, emailed, written letters, had other politicians plead our case and had the famous Osteen town meeting.”
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