Why is there no sign on Old State Road about the proposed abandonment of the part leading to the Alapaha River like there was in 2010? There’s a clue in the letter of the law Lowndes County is citing.
NOTICE OF PROPOSED
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that pursuant to O.C.G.A. 32-7-2(b)(1) the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners has determined that a section of Old State Road (CR # 16) has ceased to be used by the public to the extent that no substantial purpose is served or by it that its removal from the county road system is otherwise in the best public interest. The section of Old State Road that is proposed for abandonment lies .85 miles to the east of Good Hope Road (CR # 126) and travels approximately .17 miles before termination at the Alapaha River.
YOU ARE ALSO HEREBY NOTIFIED that pursuant to said Code section the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing for the purpose of determining whether to declare the subject section of the subject road abandoned. The public hearing will be at 5:30 P.M. on February 12, 2013, at the Lowndes County Administration Building located at 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, Georgia.
Any citizen of Lowndes County or any person wherever residing may be heard by the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners during the aforesaid public hearing.
Joseph D. Pritchard
Lowndes County, Georgia
Note that last part: “or any person wherever residing may be heard by the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners during the aforesaid public hearing.” That means you do not have to be a citizen or resident or taxpayer of Lowndes County to speak at this public hearing.
There’s no public hearing sign on the affected portion of that road. Why is that? Here’s O.C.G.A. 32-7-2(b)(1):
(b) (1) When it is determined that a section of the county road system 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 otherwise in the best public interest, the county, by certification recorded in its minutes, accompanied by a plat or sketch, and, after notice to property owners located thereon, after notice of such determination is published in the newspaper in which the sheriff’s advertisements for the county are published once a week for a period of two weeks, and after a public hearing on such issue, may declare that section of the county road system abandoned. Thereafter, that section of road shall no longer be part of the county road system and the rights of the public in and to the section of road as a public road shall cease.
So the statute doesn’t seem to require a sign like the county put up last time, back in 2010. It only requires a public notice in the newspaper two weeks in advance, and even though the Commission voted 22 January 2013 to hold this hearing, 28 January is just two weeks before 12 February, So the county has met the letter of this particular statute. And, as so often, the county can’t be bothered to go any farther.As for the “plat or sketch” required by the statute, maybe it was the map displayed at the 22 January 2013 Commission meeting. We don’t know, because the Commission doesn’t publish its board packets, which presumably contained that “plat or sketch”, although we don’t even know that.
Is this how “a part of a progressive government that is a notch ahead of many rural mid-size communities” acts? That quoted text is From the County Manager, Joseph D. Pritchard.