Update 2013-01-25 9:48 AM: fixed an error and added some further detail. -jsq
Citing unspecified sources of information about water rights, the Lowndes County Commission voted to move to a hearing to abandon a road to a river
they didn’t name, but which
happens to be: the Alapaha River (it was named this time).
This was at the
Regular Session of 22 January 2013.
See also the
Work Session the morning of the same day.
County Engineer Mike Fletcher describe the case like this:
Georgia Statute says that for an initial determination that the section of county road has for any reason ceased to be used by the public to the extent that no substantial public purpose is served by it, or that its removal from the county road system is in the public’s best interest. And just to remind you, as we spoke yesterday, the bridge that goes across the Alapaha River has been washed out; it has not been replaced, so there is no access across the river to Lanier County.
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall remarked that this same item had been voted down 26 October 2010(?). Chairman Bill Slaughter asserted that the applicant had previously gotten permission to close the road and was merely asking to extend the length; he was corrected by staff (I think by County Manager Joe Pritchard) saying no, it wasn’t approved. Why doesn’t staff brief the Commission and the public on the history of a case like this when it comes up again?
Commissioner Joyce Evans said
It was not approved because of different circumstances. I think during that time, Mr. Fletcher, you researched it all and you got the information that we needed. And that was the reason it was not approved; we didn’t have the information that we needed about the water rights. Since then we have received that.
County Engineer Mike Fletcher added:
This is not considered a navigable waterway, so therefore Mr. Connell owns the bottom of the riverbed, so his property actually goes into the river, and not to the high water mark.
Marshall said he’d heard from a constituent about the previous vote. Slaughter said the additional information indicated Commissioner Crawford Powell asked if there was a need to deed property back to Mr. Connell. County Engineer said the County didn’t actually have a dead. County Attorney said giving up the easement on the road would give all rights back to the landowner. They voted unanimously to “move forward with the public hearing portion.”
They gave no indication that they had read this purported new information. They didn’t say when the public hearing would be. (At the Work Session that same morning the Engineer remarked “I guess it will be in three weeks at the next regular meeting”.)
Here’s the video:
Vote for a hearing to abandoning a road leading to the Alapaha River
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 22 January 2013.