Farnell Road hearing set for Friday

Published 10:34 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A hearing will be held on Friday at the Pike County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. on the recent dispute between the Pike County Commission and landowners on Farnell Road, just north of the China Grove community.

The hearing will be on a Motion to Intervene, a third party action filed by residents of China Grove and their attorney Larry Gardner.

The motion has been filed in a lawsuit against the County Commission, initiated by attorney Grady Reeves on behalf of the Pirnies and the Deans, property owners of land surrounding County Road 7704, commonly known as Farnell Road.

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Reeves brought the action against the county commission, on the grounds that it unlawfully denied his clients’ petition to close the road. After Gardner filed the Motion to Intervene, Reeves answered by filing an opposition. Friday’s hearing will determine whether China Grove residents will be admitted into the lawsuit.

In an effort to justify his clients’ right to intervene, Garner contended in the motion that “the road is utilized by interveners and numerous citizens, law enforcement officials, utilities, United States Postal Service employees, and fire and rescue personnel for both Pike and Bullock Counties.”

He also stated that the alternative route that would be necessary to use as a result of the road closure, would create a more congested and unsafe hazard to his clients and the public.

In an opposition, Reeves argued that current applicable case law requires property owners be denied a reasonable means of ingress or egress to and from their property and that Garner had failed to establish this in the motion, and thus has not met the requirements to intervene. District Judge Fred Steagall of Dale County is set to rule on the motion Friday after recently being ordered by the Alabama Supreme Court to reside over the case.