Madison County has over 75 private drives and many property owners along those roads would like to have the county’s help in maintaining the paths.
But government roadwork on private property is against the law. The county can’t maintain private roads unless ownership is transferred to the local government. Madison County commissioners have occasionally discussed the criteria for accepting ownership of private drives. For instance, after the housing market crashed, several roads in local developments fell into disrepair and the county agreed to take on maintenance of roads in several subdivisions. Along with that move, the group outlined a number of guidelines for accepting private roads, such as requiring legal deeds and rights of way.
On May 5, the group once again talked about its road adoption policies. Commissioners have heard requests from citizens to have the county smooth paths with a motorgrader or place gravel on drives. In fact, some private roads present safety issues. For instance, board members say they want county emergency vehicles to be able to reach all residences. Likewise, some school buses might not be able to reach the homes of special-needs children.
Ultimately, commissioners took no action on their road adoption policies Monday. But commission chairman Anthony Dove asked each board member to present one private drive at an upcoming meeting for consideration of adoption. He said the county could never adopt all private drives at once, but it commissioners could present such roads, with priority given to public safety and special needs cases.
In a separate matter, the board discussed a proposal to eliminate permit requirements for carports, “lean-tos” and “pole barns.” After a lengthy discussion the group postponed a decision while county attorney Mike Pruett reviews what is required by law in terms of building standards for such structures.
Also May 5, the board approved a rezoning request for an Athens-based fence and gate company, Artistic Ornamental Iron Work Inc., on 2.46 acres on Hwy. 29 South from business to industrial. The company will employ three-to-four people. The commissioners approved a rezoning for Mary and Victor Boutier to rezone an existing home and two acres on their 30.52 acre property on Hudson River Church Road from A-1 to R-R. The group approved a conditional use permit for an event hall for Gina Dickens on her 25-acre property on Jones Mathews Road. Dickens plans to host weddings in a farm setting.
The board agreed to seek bids for the paving of Spratlin Mill Road, the parking lot at the recreation soccer park, Fourth Street in Colbert and the widening and resurfacing of Transco Road.
The board approved the hiring of Joyce Garmon to fill a vacant full-time paramedic position, Ethan Davis to fill a vacant part-time EMT position and Leslie Godfrey, Justin Meyer and Joe Swails to fill vacant part-time paramedic positions. The board also agreed to hire Rebecca Smith to fill a vacant EMS training coordinator position. The group re-appointed Shelia Collins as a board member for the Department of Family and Children Services.
The board approved a 35 mph speed limit for Jones Matthews Road. The board observed a moment of silence and prayer for former commissioner Bill Taylor, who was scheduled for surgery Tuesday. Dove said there was big turnout for the May 1 National Day of Prayer ceremony at Madison County Memorial Park. Dove noted that the recent wind storm that hit the Athens area and part of Madison County was known as a “wake low.” He said a Madison County resident was injured while in Athens during the wind event.