Changes to Cuyler Road in Blitchton were approved by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners at their monthly meeting on Aug. 7. The Department of Transportation has recommended the road be closed on the end that directly meets Hwy. 280, and have it rerouted to tie into Hwy. 80 at another location.
"I don’t know of anybody that wants to close that road, on Cuyler or Tucker. People on Tucker are afraid that if Cuyler gets blocked off or closed on the end, it’s going to increase traffic without a whole lot of improvements, and it’s going to be a real detriment to that neighborhood," said Dale Dudley, county recreation director.
Bacon said it’s "almost a requirement" that Cuyler Road be closed, but admitted Tucker Road would not support the resulting traffic.
The Department of Transportation is redesigning the interchange, where five roads currently come together. Hwy. 80 runs through the intersection; and Cuyler Road, Eldorado Road, and Hwy. 280 all meet Hwy 80 at a single spot.
If Cuyler Road is closed and provided a new outlet, the interchange can be redesigned as a four road intersection, creating a "safer interchange," County Administrator Phil Jones said.
"I recommend that we go along with the state closing the road, but develop a plan to handle the traffic," Ed Bacon said. His suggestion was that a parallel street be added. Rick Garner said he was concerned about DOT trying to expand Tucker Road as a new outlet for Cuyler Road residents, but Bacon reiterated that Tucker could not be redesigned with an expansion.
"The motion is to go along with DOT, but DOT has to go along with us," Chairmen Jim Burnsed said. If the DOT is not compliant, Burnsed said the motion will be withdrawn, and the road remain as is.
The board approved the motion, with Garner the only opposing vote.
In other issues:
- The Genesis Point development master plan has had minor changes since its preliminary approval. "The open space has been slightly reduced due to a smaller golf course, however the open space that is within the development is quite larger than what is required," said Christine Stringer, Planning and Zoning director for Bryan County.
Doug Davis, Fletcher Management Property, explained the plan’s changes. "As we finished up the original plan, very little geo-technical information was known at that time," he said. "We didn’t understand where the water levels were, we didn’t understand, from an environmental mapping standpoint, where the wetlands were. So as we got further along in our planning study…we dropped back a little bit and allowed the lay of the land to dictate where the lagoon system and golf course should go," he said. Road systems for Genesis Point development began three weeks ago. The board unanimously approved the revised master plan.
- The new Genesis Point wastewater treatment facility will not be funded by taxpayers’ dollars, Burnsed said. "We have letters of credit in place from Genesis Point that will pay the loan payments on that waste-water treatment plant until there are enough homes, and then they will pay for it. There is no taxpayer money to pay for the developer’s wastewater treatment center. I just want to make that clear to everybody," he said.
- Pratt Lockwood, county recreation director, gave the commissioners estimates on lighting the baseball-softball complex. Fencing bids will open on Aug. 16; bids for labor to do the lights should open on Aug. 17. Hussey, Gay Bell and DeYoung, will prepare the concession stand floor plan for free, allowing companies to all bid on the same plan. "These fields need to be supervised," Lockwood said. With the Astroturf being a large investment, he recommended the possibility of a "zero tobacco tolerance" field, eliminating worry of cigarette butts or smokeless tobacco causing any damage to the Astroturf.
- Jim Anderson, directory of Bryan County Emergency Services, previously got two bids for a new fire truck for the 204 station. After negotiating with both bidding companies, Anderson said paying upfront, when the contract is signed, will set the price at $200,921 (including a five-year unlimited transmission warrantee) with the recommended company. The board unanimously approved the bid for the new truck, which will come from SPLOST funds.
- The bid for Cowart’s restaurant in Pembroke was approved, pending resolving parking issues. The commissioners all agreed the parking lot would need to be revamped, with possible changes from planning and zoning. Phil Jones, county administrator, said the business has been there so long that the parking lot is currently protected by its grandfather clause. Garner said it needs to brought up to current standards. "Even if it’s grandfathered, I suppose I’m concerned that P and Z isn’t aware of the parking ratio to clientele," he said.
- Jones informed the commissioners they are now required to have an Impact Fee Advisory Committee, at least until the end of the current fiscal year. This short-term group can be made up of five to 10 members, 50 percent of whom must be from the development community, Jones said. He recommended each commissioner elect one person, as soon as possible.
- The county’s Land Use Committee has been nominated, with 12 members serving. Information has been mailed out to the volunteers, and their first meeting will be Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m.