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Options limited for county to repair private roads

Board sets Aug. 2 workshop for repair, paving projects

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POSTED: July 21, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Regardless of the condition of the 121 private roads in Bryan, county officials couldn’t fix them now if they wanted to.

That was the main topic of conversation during a Bryan County Board of Commissioners workshop Tuesday in the commissioners’ meeting room in Pembroke.

“Basically you’d be doing a public function on private property,” county attorney John Harvey told the board. “It’d be no different than the county coming in and cutting your grass, it’s just not permitted.

“In fact, it’s probably criminal to be honest with you,” he added. “There are probably some criminal statutes that are broadly enough written that the use of government property for a private purpose is a problem.”

The topic of private roads first came up during the board’s June meeting when Commissioner Joe Kendrick expressed concerns about conditions of certain private roads. Kendrick said the condition of some private roads, such as Red Bird Lane in North Bryan, are so bad that emergency vehicles can’t even get down them.

Harvey cited Georgia code Tuesday, noting that it clearly states a county is not authorized for the construction or maintenance of any private road.

“This issue comes up a lot, and I’ve seen other county attorneys struggle with it a lot. But when the code says that, I think it’s pretty clear that we can’t do that,” Harvey said.

The only way for the county to maintain private roads, he said, would be for the property owner to give the land to the county, and for the county to accept it as a county-maintained road.

Read more in the July 20 edition of the News.



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