Tag Archives: Phillip Connell

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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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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Letters against closing Old State Road to the Alapaha River @ LCC 2013-02-12

Here is a list of the letters I have copies of that oppose closing Old State Road to the Alapaha River; probably more have been sent. The vote is tonight 5:30 PM 12 February 2013 at 327 North Ashley Street 2nd Floor, Valdosta, GA. According to state law and the public hearing notice,

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.

That means anyone from anywhere may speak.

Here’s the list.

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Proposed abandonment of the only public access to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County —April Huntley

Received Monday; she sent it to all the Commissioners; I added a few links. -jsq

To the Lowndes County Commission:

My name is April Huntley, and I have lived in Naylor for over 13 years. I have used the boat ramp at the end of Old State Rd. that April Huntley gives access to the Alapaha River for most of those years. Until yesterday, when I spoke to Phillip Connell, I didn’t know I was trespassing when I swam in the river. I thought this was public access. I thought this belonged to Lowndes County.

I thought about this some more and questions rose up in my mind. Why hadn’t the game wardens and sheriff deputies that came to check the area at times notified me and others we were trespassing? Why would Lowndes County not claim their ONLY boat ramp to the Alapaha River for the benefit of their residents?

Commisioners Raines and Powell Ok, so I had these questions, but then I started thinking about the Commission work session I attended yesterday morning, and when I talked to Commissioner Powell and Raines afterward. They told me

that despite what the tax assessor has on their website and in their records, their attorney viewed the deeds showing Phillip Connell bought the property from Dr. Acree 2 or 3 years ago. His lawyer (I’m assuming Mr. Connell’s) filed something wrong and that’s why it isn’t showing up with the tax assessor. The story when Chairman Bill Slaughter I spoke to Bill Slaughter, Commission Chairman, Friday afternoon was that we need to prove ownership because he and Commissioner Evans had walked the property with Phillip Connell. Mr. Connell says he owns both sides of the road.

So from Friday afternoon to Monday morning deeds have been found to prove ownership of the land? And these deeds contradict tax records? So is it 2 or 3 years? Doesn’t a deed have an exact date on it? Who has been paying the taxes for the last 2 or 3 years? Wouldn’t somebody notice if they were paying taxes on land they didn’t own for 2 or 3 years?

In light of these new discoveries, the people immediately request information on what exactly the lawyer filed wrong which caused Phillip Connell’s supposed property along Old State Rd. not to show up in the tax assessor’s records, the exact date Mr. Connell purchased the property from Dr. Acree which gives him ownership of the land on both sides of Old State Rd. and the deeds. Most importantly the people request to know when and why Lowndes County lost the boat ramp to private property.

Oh, one more question, did the state of Georgia build the boat ramp with prison labor?

Commissioners, I respectfully request this information and that you deny the proposed abandonment of .17 miles of County Road 16, Old State Rd., leading to the Alapaha River.


April Huntley

Please deny abandonment of Old State Rd. leading to the Alapaha River —Brett Huntley

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

To the Lowndes County Commission:

My name is Brett Huntley. I have lived in Naylor Georgia for 13 years. I am also a business owner in Lowndes County. Brett Huntley

In the past 13 years I have used the location at the end of Old State Rd. as an entry point to the Alapaha River for all kinds of outdoor recreation. An example of these things are fishing, camping, boating, hiking, canoeing and family get togethers.

This location is the only public access point to the Alapaha River in Lowndes County. It would deeply sadden me to lose this place that I have grown to love over the years.

I would also like to not only suggest keeping this location open to the public, but ask the county to consider spending money on it. It would benefit the county to fix this location so it can be easier maintained and the public can access it.

I would also like to point out that this time the idea of shutting down the entry point to the river has been a lot more under the radar. I would like to know why a counter has not been placed across the road to show proof of how many people use this location. Also why was the sign notifying the public of this matter not put up until the last minute?

Thank you!

Brett Huntley

Please deny abandonment of Old State Rd. leading to the Alapaha River —Travis Bennett

Received Monday; he sent it to all the Commissioners; I added a few links. -jsq

To the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners:

My name is Travis Bennett, and I’ve lived in Naylor for 9 years. One of the reasons I moved to Naylor was the river. Travis Bennett When I moved here there were picnic tables and trash cans down there. It was really nice to have a picnic and family get together!

I live less than a mile from the boat ramp. My step son, Levi Giddens, and I go down and fish all the time. He loves fishing that river!

I’ve worked with the local DNR officer, Keith, on the litter and unruly people. In the past couple of years the river has stayed a lot cleaner. So I’m not sure why it is being said it is trashed down there.

I am disappointed that it took until late last week to get the public hearing sign up. I was at the last hearing on this and spoke with Joyce Evans. She stated the river should remain open. I hope she still thinks the same thing. I just wanted to state a few things I was thinking about.


Travis Bennett

Keep County Road 16, leading to the Alapaha River open to public access —Christopher L. Graham

Received Sunday; he sent it to all the Lowndes County Commisioners. -jsq

My name is Christopher L. Graham I’m a citizen of Naylor. I am concern about the river shutting down to the public. Because it is Christopher L. Graham the only public access to the Alapaha river in Lowndes county. Because then we have to go to lake land in Lanier county to there public access boat ramp to put in or go to Stateville in Echols county to there DNR public access boat ramp to put in. The Hotchkiss Bridge or now people are calling it Hotchkiss landing is a good check point for the fisherman. I’m concern because there is not many public a ccess on this Alapaha river. Well if Naylor ever expands there wouldn’t be any water recreation use in this community. That is not good for our community. People all over this area use this public access for fishing & they bring there kids and there family together to have a family picnic, swimming. People go down there to relax and listen to the water hitting the rocks and hear the birds making different noise. This is a nice place to take picture of the nature. The Hotchkiss Bridge is a top location for bird watching in the State of Georgia. Birding enthusiasts interested in experiencing the many wonderful bird families in the surrounding areas of Hotchkiss Bridge. The Hotchkiss Bridge has a historic value to our community. It use to be the old major highway to go to the next town. Many of our community had there ancestry use that old Hotchkiss Bridge. I know the bridge has been gone for many years. Now it’s a public boat ramp. The Hotchkiss Bridge has history and It would be a good asset for Lowndes county to have….

P.S. I would like a park down there and a sign that tell the history of the old Hotchkiss Bridge.

News about Hotchkiss Landing @ LCC 2013-02-11

After the Monday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session was over, a couple of Commissioners indicated to inquiring citizens that they had seen a contract by which Acree Investments LTD sold land on both sides of Old State Road to the Alapaha River to Phillip Connell. This contract has not been filed with the county, and that’s why the Tax Assessors’ database doesn’t show it. I confirmed later today with Dr. Acree that he had sold 16 acres to Phillip Connell several years ago. Very interesting; if it is even Old State Road they’re considering closing (see below).

Public Hearing sign on Old State Road What sort of public hearing is it going to be tomorrow evening when this new information was not revealed to the public even in the Work Session, and the only way the public could find out was by going and asking a Commissioner personally?

In positive news, various Commissioners expressed approval of the idea of Continue reading

Acree Park at Hotchkiss Landing?

How about if Lowndes County buys the land next to Old State Road at Hotchkiss Crossing on the Alapaha River and turns it into Acree Park? That would be a much better solution to the trash, tresspassing, and hunting problems there than closing the road. And Lowndes County itsels claims it has plenty of money available for just such a purpose.

As we’ve seen, Lowndes County’s own Comprehensive Plan says the county has $500,000 in Acquisition Funds Available to “Adopt, implement, and update provisions of the Greenspace Initiative Plan to include land acquisition and resource enhancement/protection.” And that it plans to “Continue preparation and implementation of the Withlacoochee River Greenway Plan.”

What say the county acquires parkland at Hotchkiss Landing from Continue reading

Why did Lowndes County do nothing about a blocked public road?

Old State Road at the Alapaha River is a county-maintained public road. How could Lowndes County not have known that it was blocked by two huge blocks of concrete Seen by google earth 2012-01-24 at Hotchkiss Landing from late 2010 through at least early 2012? Why did Code Enforcement do nothing about it?

These blocks of concrete have to be quite heavy. This is not random litter, and no partier or hunter or 4-wheeler would have any motivation to block the road, much less with blocks this size. Who would? Why didn’t the county find out and do something about it?