Commission votes to help hospital board become healthcare authorityBy Emily Etheredge Published 4:44pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013
After a lengthy discussion from concerned residents, the commission unanimously voted during a public hearing to keep County Road 545 from County Road 59 to County Road 480 open.
The commission originally heard from Otto Miller during the Aug. 12 meeting regarding the closure of the road.
Miller asked the commission to consider the possibility of closing County Road 545 from County Road 59 going northwest about 0.58 miles to the start of County Road 480.
Miller also asked the commission to consider closing 0.32 miles of County Road 480 from the end of County Road 545 to the Gutscher residence on County Road 480, totaling 0.9 miles.
The road is commonly referred to as the Dixie Camp Road and commissioners told Miller he would have to advertise for a public hearing before they could vote to close a portion of the road.
Caton opened up the public hearing with eight people showing opposition at the meeting to the closing of the road.
Caton said he wanted to start out the public hearing by hearing from those wanting to close the road before commissioners heard from those wanting to keep the road open.
Zach Justice, who owns the property at the former Dixie Camp, said it was not his intention to close the road to hurt anyone.
“The road needs to be closed and it should have been closed because of vandalism, drugs and an unbelievable amount of litter,” Justice said.
Justice said other nuisances such as drivers going down the road late at night with loud mufflers or ATVs at “every hour of the night” made it difficult to beautify the land he has recently purchased.
“Anyone who has been down there can see I am trying to do just that,” Justice said. “I want to take care of the property.”
Justice proposed that anyone living on the road could discuss the option of a gated entrance to the road with a combination code or key to allow those living on that portion of the road a private entrance.
“I moved out to the county to get away from what is happening, and I can’t live around ATVs and loud booming music and neither should you,” Justice said. “That isn’t why you live in the country.”
A resident who lives on 480 said she was told the road was closing six years ago and she saw no reason to keep it open.
Others voiced concerns regarding closing the road saying the road had been open for a long time and many people still use the road as a shortcut to other areas in the county.
Steve Frederick spoke against closing the road representing Verbena Fire Department by telling commissioners closing the road would be an inconvenience for the fire department.
Frederick said the commission previously approved for County Road 480 to be moved and wondered why the commission never moved the road.
“Mr. Justice has done a lot of work and improved the area but to close the road is an inconvenience,” Frederick said.
Caton said the commission had also received several letters from people opposing the closure of the road including Alabama Power.
Mims made a motion that County Road 545 to 480 remain open with Moore seconding the motion.
Commissioners unanimously voted to keep the road open.