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Citizens petition commission against vacating road to Lockheed Martin

Pike County residents near County Road 7717 are petitioning the county commission not to vacate a 2.7-mile portion of the road to Lockheed Martin.

Darlene Lee, who says her property abuts Lockheed Martin, said the residents are concerned about the potential for property values to drop and for an increase in traffic that would cause safety hazards.

“There are already so many people coming down that road, if they’re putting another main employee entrance gate there it’s going to increase traffic dangerously,” Lee said.

Efforts to reach a representative of Lockheed Martin were unsuccessful.

At a public hearing on Jan. 23, Lockheed Martin representative Adam Carson said the company must own the road for future expansion to be possible.

“We have to maintain 1,250 feet from any public road,” Carson said. “A lot of those things restrict our ability to expand facilities. We’re in the process of building two facilities right now where we have the ability to do that. We’ve grown from 298 jobs to 460 since I’ve been here and expect to be at 500 with expansion. I can’t tell you how many jobs we’ll bring, but I can guarantee if we have no room to expand we will add no additional jobs.”

Lee said the petition of landowners closest to the property currently has 37 signatures.

“It’s going to drop our property values when we look out the back of our house we’ll see nothing but Lockheed’s gate,” Lee said.

Lee met with Robin Sullivan, chairman of the Commission, last week, but said the visit bore little new information about the situation.

Sullivan said commissioners are not nearly ready to decide on the issue yet.

“We’re going to keep it on the agenda for a while we work through some of these things,” Sullivan said.

Commissioner Homer Wright, whose district includes the portion of road in question, said it could be April before the commission comes to any conclusion on the matter.

“Right now we haven’t made any kind of decision,” Wright said. “It will be on hold for a while.”

The commission will next meet Monday upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the business meeting at 6 p.m. The commission can vote on the road vacation as soon as they make a decision.