Residents will say in Farnell Road

Published 10:24 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In a legal battle that will determine whether China Grove’s County Road 7704, commonly referred to as Farnell Road, will be effectively closed to the public, the presiding judge ruled to allow a third party to take part in the proceedings.

On May 7, a court order was issued by Judge Fred Steagall that will permit residents of the China Grove community north of Troy, to participate in the lawsuit.

The Farnell Road case began after the Pike County Commission denied a petition by a group of landowners to vacate the road.

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The landowners, Robert and Leslie Pirnie and Kelly, Jeffrey, Dennis and James Dean, along with their attorney Grady Reeves, filed suit against the commission, contending their decision was unlawful and unjustified.

The commission, represented by County Attorney Allen Jones, has maintained the plaintiffs have no legal standing in their action against the county.

Some 476 residents of the China Grove community originally opposed the road closing when the issue was brought to the county commission floor. Now those residents have been granted the right to be involved in the trial and they will stand by the commission’s decision.

Jones called the ruling to allow those residents to intervene an “important development,” as he addressed the Pike County Commission Monday night.

“Everyone with interest gets to have their say,” he said.

The portion of road in question is a 1.8-mile stretch of unpaved dirt road between China Grove and the southern edge of Bullock County.

In Judge Steagall’s order granting the motion to intervene filed by the China Grove residents and their attorney Larry Gardener, it was also stated the case would be set for final hearing at the request of any party. Thus far no parties have filed the motion to set the final hearing.