County to consider rescinding motion regarding Bunch Standridge Road

The Stephens County Board of Commissioners will consider rescinding a motion that had been made in November 2018 during tomorrow’s scheduled meeting.

The original motion was to extend county road maintenance on Bunch Standridge Road by 300 feet. This motion also stipulated that the residents whose land intersects the 300 feet of road must sign easements to the county before the road crew would start.

The Board of Commissioners approved the motion, but was split 3-2 after Chairman Michelle Ivester and Vice Chair Dean Scarborough voted against the motion.

The issue came before the commission when a citizen requested the county start maintaining the larger portion of road.

During the November meeting, County Administrator Phyllis Ayers told the commissioners that historically the county has only maintained a portion of the road.

“On August 28, 2018, we made a motion for the entire road to be maintained by the Stephens County Public Works to begin the right-of-way deed process,” Ayers said. “In the agenda packet, there’s also an aerial view where from Holiness Church Road to from where I have written ‘BS’ and ‘Stop.’ This is where the road department has historically maintained and we only have ditch to ditch off of Holiness Church Road. You’ll hear during the citizens’ comment or if our Chairman wants to hear them now, there are some folks here to discuss this.”

The first resident to come before the commission was Darren Sheriff, who spoke on behalf of Martha Aldridge, who’s property stops at the section of un-maintained road. He said he’d prefer the county maintain the road as they have in the past.

“I know y’all surveyed it and all that stuff, but we want it left just like it is,” Sheriff said. “We want it maintained and y’all have always maintained it. She’s (Aldridge) been living there for about 70 years. Kelly and Corey Buckner, we sold them 10-acres of land, is what it amounts to, on out past Martha’s house on the right there. And when we did that, all the years that she’s been there y’all have maintained the gravel and the ditches right before you get to their (Buckner’s) house because there use to be a gate there.”

However, Corey Buckner, who owns the property located directly across from Aldridge, said he wanted the county to maintain the road without any property owners losing any land to new right-of-ways.

“I’m the one that has started all this mess. The only thing I did was call the county, first, and just asked ‘is there anything that we can do,’ because they stop, literally, 100-yards from my driveway. When the house was built, so it was understood, it was a county maintained road to where the driveway was going to go in. Well, the gravel stopped 100-yards from our driveway. If we had known that we would have repositioned it. I don’t want asphalt. I don’t want anybody to lose any land…The only thing I want is the gravel to come another 100-yards, so that I don’t have to pay for three loads of gravel out of my pocket.”

Following Buckner’s comments, Stephens County Attorney Brian Ranck advised the commissioners request easements from the two property owners, which is how the original motion was worded.

“Typically we’ve deferred to the road department and say ‘how much room do you need in order to maintain this road in a safe manner and turn your equipment around,’” Ranck said. “You could request an easement, that’s always an option, then they’re just giving an easement to the county. We don’t prefer that but it is an option.”

But, on tomorrow’s agenda, the board will also consider a motion to determine how much right-of-way to accept on Bunch Standridge Road. The outcome of the board’s decision tomorrow will determine if a larger portion of the road will be maintained.

The Stephens County Board of Commissioners will meet tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. inside the Historic County Courthouse. The public is encouraged to attend. For questions regarding tomorrow’s meeting contact County Clerk Beth Rider by calling 706-886-9491.