Tag Archives: Hotchkiss Landing

Make sure people in my age group know who they’re voting for —Brett Huntley @ LCC 2013-02-26

Brett Huntley responded to the Commission's mysterious ruling against the public at the 26 Febuary 2013 Lowndes County Commission meeting, to close the only public access to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County. Neither County Manager Joe Pritchard nor County Engineer Mike Fletcher were paying any attention.

I would like to publicly say that I am shocked with the decision. I feel the decision was in favor of a sole person, and not in the interests of the community and the citizens. We tried to speak and explain our side of the story. And the county road has not ceased to be used. It's been being used in our county for over 100 years. I feel your guys just made a decision that will have an impact on our culture and heritage in the community that is not good. It's a bad decision, I feel.

I kind of feel hurt. I feel it's a personal thing for our community. That whole road abandonment idea stems from one sole person

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Please deny the closure of County Road 16 leading to the Alapaha River —three neighbors

Received today; they sent it to all the Commissioners. -jsq

To the Lowndes County Commission:

It has been quite an experience dealing with the proposed closing of a portion of County Road 16. Our quaint spot on the river in Naylor, Lowndes County is something that can easily be taken for granted, but it is something that should be treasured and appreciated by the entire county. While we have learned a rich history about Naylor and the County Road proposed to be closed, we will not encumber you with these details. We will let you know in this letter the laws and reasons why the proposal should be denied.

First off, the landowner did not legally own the land when he made his request for the closing of the road. The legal date this property was deeded to Phillip Connell is February 8, 2013. The day his request was made is unknown because the letter sent had the date whited out and is an exact copy of the September 10, 2010 letter he submitted. It is known that the proposal for a public hearing was made in the Commission meeting January 22, 2013. The county should not be hearing this proposal for being misled by Phillip Connell. Why instead is the County claiming that a legal transaction for this land occurred 2 or 3 years ago and now has extended it to 3 or 4 years ago? Where is the proof for this claim?

Second, the landowner’s claim about liability, trash and trespassing is

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Reconsider closing this road —James Manes

Received today; he sent it to all the Commissioners. -jsq

James Manes 107 Shiloh Rd. Ray City, GA 31605

Regarding Regular session held Jan 22, 2013; Agenda 7 B, a request for road abandonment, I would like to state my opinion.

The road abandonment was to close a section of County Road 16 Old State Road. I feel this issue is not a open and shut case.

The county has determined “the road has been ceased to be used by the public”, and has no “substantial public purpose”.

I am aware the law (32-7-2 a) states “The department must confer with the governing authority of the county’s or municipalities (Unincorporated Naylor GA.), and give due consideration to their wishes in such abandonment.”

I have not been able to find any public records of

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Video: two appointments, a public hearing, and two grants @ LCC 2013-02-25

Newsflash! “no new information” and “questions were resolved” about the proposed abandonment of Old State Road at Hotchkiss Landing on the Alapaha River, according to the Commission. They vote tonight at 5:30 PM.

Dr. Bill Grow talked for fifteen minutes about South Health District, and managed not to ask the county for money, although the Health Dept. clearly could use some. Ashley Tye reported on local weather conditions and the county’s Code Red emergency warning system, in which lack of Internet access by some county residents came up.

It’s J. Glenn Gregory again for the South Regional Joint Development Authority and Commissioner Joyce Evans for the Southern Georgia Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. They are applying for a grant for the county’s MIDS bus system and reapplying for a CDBG grant for Second Harvest.

Here’s the agenda, with links to the videos and some notes, followed by a video playlist.

WORK SESSION, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
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Proposed abandonment of a portion of County Road 16/Old State Rd. —Brett Huntley @ LCC 2013-02-25

Received today; he sent it to all the Commissioners. -jsq

To the commission on the proposed idea of road abandonment on County Rd. #16:

On the morning of 2/25/13 after the county commission’s morning work session, my wife and I spoke with Joyce Evans and Bill Slaughter on some of our concerns and new found technical information about road abandonment, Georgia state waterways, and what the county and state are expected to protect.

During our conversation we were told that for unexplained legal reasons the county would have to give the road back to the land owner. At this time my thoughts and questions come back to: Why if for legal reasons do we have to give the land back or away, and why are we even having to have a public hearing on this matter, if the public has no say?

Also during this conversation Bill mentioned

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Water trails for economic benefit —Bret Wagenhorst

This letter demonstrates many public uses of the Alapaha River at Hotchkiss Crossing by everyone from Boy Scouts to doctors, and indicates economic benefits of water trails. -jsq

February 4, 2013
Lowndes County Board of Commissioners
327 North Ashley Street – 3rd Floor
Valdosta, GA 31601
RE: Hotchkiss landing closure

Dear Commissioners:

I have lived in the South Georgia region for the past 16 years. I am also a practicing physician and have a love of the out of doors, especially canoeing, camping and hiking. I also serve on the board of WWALS Watershed Coalition, a local river advocacy group trying to promote awareness and preservation of our local rivers. It has recently come to my attention that you are considering the potential closure of the Hotchkiss landing site along the Alapaha River near Naylor. I would like to put in a word in favor of keeping the landing site open.

I have canoed dozens of different sections of the Alapaha River from north of Tifton all the way to Statenville, as well as portions that join with the Suwanee River in Florida. Without a doubt, one of the most fun and scenic sections to paddle is from the put-in near Burnt Church outside of Lakeland down to the Hotchkiss landing. I have taken various groups

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Agenda: two appointments, a public hearing, and two grants @ LCC 2013-02-25

The county’s website, down earlier today, is back up, so we can see there is a Work Session this morning, with voting at the Regular Session tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM. The proposed abandonment of Old State Road at Hotchkiss Landing on the Alapaha River, tabled two weeks ago, is on the agenda, although the Georgia Supreme Court makes me wonder why. One of the two appointments is to the South Regional Joint Development Authority which Andrea Schruijer mentioned at the most recent VLCIA board meeting. Another is to the Southern Georgia Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council. I’m guessing one person to each agency; the agenda doesn’t say how many nor who the candidates are. Here’s the agenda. -jsq

WORK SESSION, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
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County can’t “lawfully vacate a public street or highway for the benefit of a private individual” —Georgia Supreme Court

While I don’t know if the proposed closing of the end of Old State Road leading to Hotchkiss Landing at the Alapaha River is even on the agenda for this morning’s Work Session (Clarification: Monday 25 Feb 2013; they vote 5:30 PM Tuesday 26 Feb 2013), because the county’s website is down and I can’t retrieve an agenda, in case it is, it may be of interest to know that the Georgia Supreme Court appears to have explicitly forbidden what the county is proposing to do.

Georgia Supreme Court, GRIFFITH v. C & E BUILDERS, 231 Ga. 255 (1973), 200 S.E.2d 874:


1. “When a grantor sells lots of land, and in his deeds describes them as bounded by streets, not expressly mentioned in the deeds, but shown upon a plat therein referred to as laid out in a subdivision of the grantor’s land, he is estopped to deny the grantees’ right to use the streets delineated in such plat. Ford v. Harris [95 Ga. 97, 22 SE 144]; Schreck v. Blun, 131 Ga. 489 (62 SE 705); Wimpey v. Smart, 137 Ga. 325 (73 SE 586); Gibson v. Gross, 143 Ga. 104 (84 SE 373). By parity of reasoning those claiming under such conveyances are estopped from denying the existence of the streets so delineated upon the plat of the subdivision and given as boundaries of lots acquired by these and others from the grantor or those claiming under him. All persons claiming under such grantor are forever estopped to deny their existence. 19 CJ 928, § 127 (b).” Tietjen v. Meldrim, 169 Ga. 678, 697 (151 SE 349); Davis v. City of Valdosta,223 Ga. 523 (156 S.E.2d 345).

I am not a lawyer, but I wonder what a lawyer would say 1. above implies about the county doing nothing about a blocked public road?

But the Georgia Supreme Court didn’t stop there:

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Georgia Recreational Use Statute

Suppose you owned land next to a river. You might have concerns about liability for people getting out of canoes or kayaks onto your land. But you’re in luck! Georgia state law says you’re not liable for most things that could happen.

The Georgia Recreational Use Statute is in O.C.G.A. §51-3-20 through §51-3-26. Here are a few excerpts.

§51-3-20. Purpose of article

The purpose of this article is to encourage owners of land to make land and water areas available to the public for recreational purposes by limiting the owners’ liability toward persons entering thereon for recreational purposes.

Does that include boating?

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Tabled for two weeks: proposed Old State Road to Alapaha River @ LCC 2013-02-12

The good news: they didn’t close the road to Hotchkiss Crossing at the Alapaha River. Lowndes County Water Resource Protection Districts Ordinance (WRPDO) Overlay Map They tabled it until their next meeting, which is in two weeks, 26 February 2013. Video will follow tomorrow, in which you will see the room was packed, mostly with people opposed to the road closing, some from as far away as Tifton. All concerned now have two weeks to absorb all the new information and work out a solution.

Below is what I sent to the Lowndes County Commission at Commissioner Joyce Evans’ request before the meeting tonight, followed by a bit more information.

Subject: River Corridor Protection Plan
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2013 16:49:50 -0500

Dear Commissioners and County Planner,

When I was talking to Joyce Evans just now, I mentioned the 100 foot natural vegetative buffer state law requires local governments to establish next to perennial rivers. Here is a summary of the state law, the definition it contains, the GA EPD rules, and some notes on the relevant parts of the Lowndes County Comprehensive Plan.

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