Commission continues its saga with County Road 161

Published 1:36 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

County Road 161 was the hot topic at the Feb. 28 Chilton County Commission meeting. The road has been in question for the past few meetings regarding a gate that is obstructing access to property on CR 161 owned by residents.

The commission started the meeting by going into executive session, and no further comment on the session was given, but just that it concerned CR 161. However, before the executive session started the statement that “this will be an executive session to discuss with the county’s attorney controversies not yet being litigated, but imminently likely to be litigated or imminently likely to be litigated at the commission’s request,” was made.

Commissioner Allen Williams voted against going into executive session because he did not think the commission should have to enter into executive session “for a hypothetical.” The executive session was held after a 6-1 vote.

At the Jan. 10 meeting, Amanda Bittinger, a resident with property on CR 161, came to the commission to express her concerns about the gates restricting her access to her property. The commission approved a resolution to send a letter to the current landowner who put the locks on the gates saying they have 30 days to prove the county closed access to CR 161 in the past.

At the Feb. 28 meeting, Williams gave updates on information he gathered on CR 161, starting with a letter from Lee Headley, assistant fire chief at Union Grove Fire Department. Headley said the gate is not allowing them to respond to calls on CR 161 properly. There have been instances where a Shelby County department has had to respond to a call in Chilton County because they cannot get through.

Williams read through six different deeds in that township that involved transactions of adjoining properties to the one who is responsible for the gate. Williams said the road was a public road with school buses and mail carriers using it regularly, until the gate was put up restricting access.

Williams made the motion “to notify the land owner of Smith’s properties to remove gates or we instruct our road department to remove said obstructions from County Road 161.” No second was made and the motion failed.

“I feel like it is a court issue between both land owners, and the commission will be willing to do whatever the courts say,” Commission Chairman Jimmie Hardee said.

The commission approved the alcohol license for The Barking Frog with a 5-2 vote. Commissioner Randell Kelley and Hardee voted no.

The Commission also approved to use Jared Building Company, which was the lowest bid received, for remodeling of the EMA Special Operations building. The remodel will add a training room, new offices, ADA compliant restrooms and a meeting room for the building.

Also, during the meeting, the commission:

  • Approved David Ratliff as a part-time investigator with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Accepted a resignation and deemed eight dump trucks surplus from the road department.
  • Approved the revenue office to advertise and hire for two positions pending a job description is approved by the HR department beforehand.
  • Approved reclassifying an employee in the revenue office.
  • Approved a new logo for the signage on the side of county trucks and vehicles.