Commission abandons road, anticipates relocation

Published 10:48 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

A half-mile portion of County Road 7724 no longer belongs to Pike County after the commission voted unanimously to abandon the public road Monday.

The portion of the road runs directly through the coming Rex Lumber site and county attorney Allen Jones said the commission needed to vacate the road in part so that the liability would not fall on the county.

“There’s all kinds of equipment and activity going on there,” Jones said. “We don’t want that portion of the road any more.”

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There’s no timeline, but the commission is not planning to keep the road closed permanently. The commission will technically be creating a new road that will connect back to the point cut off by the road’s closure, but that road will become part of County Road 7724.

As an added bonus, the road being planned to go around the modern sawmill will be paved.

This road vacation differs from the recent process initiated by Lockheed Martin. The county initiated this process instead of the abutting landowners.

Nobody spoke out in opposition or support of the vacation during the public hearing, although one resident came to ensure that the plan was to eventually open up another road that would allow convenient access to his property.

The county also heard a further update from commissioners Chad Copeland, District 4, and Jimmy Barron, District 3, about possibly paving a small stretch of County Road 5515 used to access Banks School.

“This would be an extremely unusual paving project,” said Russell Oliver, county engineer. “It’s a very short, flat road that services the school area. There are lots of things normally required that are not required this time. Due to the existing terrain and it being a one-way street, there would be no widening or additional right-of-way required … there would be very minimal grading required.”

The commission will be hearing another road vacation request at their June 25 meeting concerning a portion of County Road 1109 that has been used as a driveway to just one home for years. Jones said he is looking to identify more of these portions of roads all over the county so the commission could potentially vacate all of them in one vote in the future.

Without Chairman Robin Sullivan present, the commission deferred action on making a hire for the county administrator position.

In other business, the commission approved the hire of Wayne Slaughter and Jarvis Siler as full-time operators for the Road Department and approved for a part-time operator position to be advertised.

The next meeting of the county commission will be held upstairs at the Pike County Health Department on Monday, June 25. The work session, along with the public hearing on the road vacation, will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by the business meeting at 6 p.m.