Richmond Hill resident Ray Harter went before the Bryan County Commissioners Tuesday, to discuss his neighborhood, in the Fancy Court dirt road cul-de-sac.
"It really needs to be paved," he said, noting heavy rains often strand members of the neighborhood. "Sometimes people get stuck or they slide off into the ditch and people with tractors have to come and pull them out."
Other residents from Fancy Court also attended the meeting. They pointed out that the school buses don’t run down the road any longer, after getting stuck once. FedEx notifies residents of package arrivals but won’t come all the way down the road. Instead, residents must go meet the truck.
Harter said drainage is also an obvious additional issue, but for now, paving Fancy Court is the neighborhood’s top priority.
"When the road is dry, it’s very dusty," he said. "My children have allergies and the dust aggravates that and makes it worse. When anyone drives down the road, it constantly kicks up the dirt. Several kids in the area use it for 4-wheeling and motorcycle driving… We’d appreciate any help you can give us; it’s a bad situation down there."
Commissioner Toby Roberts explained how the process works to getting a road paved:
"Each commissioner submits roads to the County Administrator and they’re prioritized for paving. Most of the roads in South Bryan County are paved, North Bryan has a lot still," he said. "Yours is one of the few in the south end that is not paved."
Roberts said the county always attempts to get help from the state, which decreases the amount that is then needed from ad valorem taxes.
When the list of roads is submitted to the state, they are classified and prioritized, County Administrator Phil Jones said. Fancy Court is currently third on the county’s list.
But Roberts pointed out there is a faster option.
"We have several dirt roads all over the county that have been paved by special tax districts, where you vote to pave the road and the county comes in and does the grading and base and paving and the cost to do it is divided up over 10 or 15 years and added to your tax bill," Roberts explained. "There’s a road right up from you that’s in the process of going through that as we speak. Your road is on the list already, and I wouldn’t dare sit here and tell you – and I don’t think anyone else will tell you – when it’s going to be paved. Nobody knows. The only way to do it for sure is to go through the special purpose tax district."
Roberts said the county would be happy to provide the Fancy Court residents with an estimate.
"I’m willing to listen to the idea, but I feel like I already pay enough taxes and I don’t want to pay any more," Harter said. "I’m sure my neighbors would agree. Nobody wants to pay more taxes, especially when we feel like we’re already paying tax for that now."
Chairman Jimmy Burnsed said the cost figure for a special tax district would at least provide an immediate alternative.
"This gives you the option and would get the road paving done much faster if you decide to do that," Burnsed said. "We’ll take everything you’ve said into consideration, but we’ve had several roads paved by way of special tax district and it’s a much quicker process."
In other business:
- Chairman Jimmy Burnsed announced his intention to run for office again in the upcoming 2008 election. "We’ve made a lot of progress in the last three years and left a lot of unfinished business," he said. "I’d like to take care of those and see them all the way through." He said several members of the community have contacted him about running again but he currently knows of no one planning to run against him. April 28 is the first day to qualify.
- Port Wentworth resident Paul Cates went before the board in regard to the property he purchased in Demeries Lake in 2006, with intention of building a home on. "I was not included in any of the meetings that have been held in regard to the problems in the subdivision," he said. "As a matter of record, I am coming before you as a property owner. There were some dams and I was assured that once he finished the dam would be removed." He currently has issues with the way in which the dam has been handled, saying he can’t use the waterway by his parcel. Jones said they would make sure it was brought up, even though the county is not responsible for that aspect of the subdivision.
In Planning and Zoning issues:
- John Howell and Lawrence Shepherd presented a request to rezone a 2.91 parcel located off Hwy. 17 South, across from Belfast Siding Road, from AR-1 to B-2. The Planning and Zoning Department denied the request because it does not meet the minimum road frontage requirement. The P&Z Board recommended approval, with the requirements that the landowners donate the right-of-way and share the entranceway with the adjacent property owner. Roberts made the motion to approve the request with the conditions of an accel/decel lane and no road signs being put up, it passed unanimously.
- Billy Mock requested an extension of a conditional use permit for a .90-acre parcel on a 30.38 tract located off Hwy. 280, north of I-16. The commission approved the conditional use permit November 2006, with the condition that Mock remove the property’s driveway by April of this year. Mock renewed a permit for the parcel’s temporary drive in February, which was approved until Feb. 1, 2009. The P&Z Board recommended approval of the extension to coincide with the temporary drive permit. Blondean Newman made the motion to approve the request, it passed with Ed Bacon voting against it.