Commission looking into possible road blockage

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission listened to public comments regarding a blockage on County Road 161 at its meeting on Jan. 10. Amanda Bittinger, a resident with property on CR 161, presented the commission with multiple documents and maps showing the road was a county road being illegally blocked, denying her access to her property.

County Road 161 is a road off of County Road 154 that goes into Shelby County.

Bittinger said she came to the commission on Feb. 15, 2022 and April 5, 2022 to express her concerns, and the commission asked for her to provide evidence of the road being illegally blocked, which she brought to the Jan. 10 meeting.

Bittinger said her family has lived on that for many years, and the road was maintained by the county in the past. She said the gates went up in 2000, and the previous owners had locks on the gates but allowed public access to the road. However, when the current owner took it over they changed the locks and blocked public access to CR 161.

“I would completely understand if this was some side road that was never used by other people in the county,” Bittinger said in the meeting.

Bittinger said the land owner has not responded to her letters, but she received a letter from their lawyer saying the public “could not have access because they use guns out there a lot.” She said there has not been a dispute with the current property owner, and she has never spoken to them.

Commissioner Allen Williams said in the past year a fire department had a call on CR 161, and they could not get there because of the gate and had to get a Shelby County department to come through the other way.

The Commission approved sending a letter to the current landowner who put the locks on the gates saying they have 30 days to prove the county closed public access to CR 161 in the past. Commissioner Joe Headley abstained from voting.

“The thing we do not need to miss here is we are not getting involved in her property, we are checking on our road and access to our road,” Commissioner Matthew Mims said. “If it shows our road is being impeded then that (securing access to the public road) would by circumstance free up her property.”

Also, during the meeting the Commission:

  • Approved new hires John Pace, Justin Johnson and Devin Chapman as full-time correction officers at the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Approved reclassifying employees in the road department and litter department.
  • Approved opening a new bank account for the opioid settlement fund.
  • Approved permission for the road department to send out bids for bridge deck and installation of bridges on County Road 262 and County Road 459.