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Black Creek residents express concerns about road flooding
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    Black Creek resident Carl Stewart told the Bryan County Commissioners at their Jan. 14 meeting that passage on Mill Creek Church Road was nearly impossible on heavy rain days and barely better on dry days.

    Stewart, along with several other Black Creek residents, spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting and presented a petition to the commissioners from 22 residents, businesses and churches asking that the road be paved post haste.

    Stewart said he walks or drives the road daily and knows the condition of the road firsthand and that immediate attention is required.

    Commissioner Wade Price said he recently brought the condition of the road to the attention of the commissioners and that at some point in the past, that road was scheduled to be paved.

    Commission chairman Carter Infinger told Stewart there were options available for the paving of Mill Creek Church Road, which is used as a cut-through from Black Creek Church Road to Highway 280, and the commission would take his comments under advisement.

    In other matters, Larry Galbreath and Timmy Casey asked the commission to consider their request for a conditional use permit that would allow them to operate a borrow pit at 1486 Belfast River Road. Galbreath said the land mined from the 7.43 acre pit would be used in site work at the new high school.

    The property lies between Wicklow and Bow Ridge drives off Belfast River Road. Planning Manager Amanda Clement told the commissioners the developer would leave a 50-foot buffer surrounding the borrow pit and that the balance of the land on the site would ultimately be developed into residential property, perhaps four lots as tentatively proposed by the developers.

    Clement told the commissioners that the staff recommended disapproval of the conditional use permit request because that area continues to grow and adding more commercial traffic along Belfast River Road is a concern. The planning commission, however, recommended approval with a list of conditions that would set certain limits on the excavation. The proposal said there would be up to 196 daily dump truck loads visiting and leaving the site daily between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

    Commissioner Gene Wallace said he was also concerned about mixing the current traffic and the in and outflow of dump trucks onto an already busy road in the county. He proposed a change to the hauling hours to 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. that would alleviate a large portion of the mixing of residential, commercial and school traffic in the mornings.

    The commission voted unanimously to approve the conditional use request with the conditions approved by the planning commission, along with the morning start times on school days amended from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

    The commission also:

    * Appointed Commissioner Noah Covington as commission vice-chairman.

    * Reappointed Leamon Holliday as county attorney.

    * Approved qualifying fees for county offices.

    * Appointed Michelle Guran to the planning commission to fill the unexpired term of Steve Scholar, who recently resigned after being elected to the Richmond Hill City Council.

    * Approved a low bid contract with National Fire Equipment Company for $457,718.30 for 90 self-contained breathing apparatus, along with accessories, for the Bryan County Emergency Management Services department. The county had previously received a $600,000 grant, which will pay for the equipment at no cost to county taxpayers.

    * Approved the buyout of a 2015 John Deere excavator lease at a cost of $96,001. County administrator Ben Taylor told the commissioners the excavator has low usage hours and remained in good condition.

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