Residents of Minor Road were present at the Upson County Board of Commission meeting last Tuesday asking the board to do whatever they could to help repair the damage done to the road by logging companies which have been cutting timber on nearby property. Part of Minor Road is paved, however the portion that has homes on it is dirt and residents stated the damage is so extensive that they are almost unable to get to their homes without using a four-wheel drive vehicle.
The board first discussed the matter at a meeting earlier last month, however there is some confusion on whether or not Minor Road is a public county road or a private road. For many years there was a gate where the dirt portion began and the board thinks it might have been considered private, yet was never officially abandoned by the county. However, until that is determined, the county’s hands are basically tied.
Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder shared a letter with the board that was from former Commission Chairman Maurice Raines in April 2012. In it, the letter states that Minor Road is a public road however, there is an agreement in place that the county will maintain the asphalt portion of the road and the residents will maintain the gated portion that is not paved. Other than the letter, the board has not been able to find any documentation on the road and the gate has since been removed.
Homeowners present at the meeting told the board the damage to the road has been caused by a logging company that has been cutting timber on nearby land and is using their road as an entrance and exit point for the woods. The group stated in the past when they had dealt with logging companies, the companies were respectful and stayed off the road when it had been raining or fixed any problems they had created, but that has not been the case lately.
“What we are looking for is some help, some relief, because the logging trucks don’t care if they tear up the road and leave,” said Sandy Camp, a resident of Minor Road. “We understand that people have to work, but that is our driveway first. We didn’t have this problem 22 years ago when I moved in because the timber people respected the land.”
Another resident, Dennis Swearingen, stated that over the years the homeowners have put a lot of effort into maintaining the dirt portion of the road, but that it is an absolute mess now. He added the damage is so extensive that they are unable to fix it themselves. Commissioner Wilder noted that he had been out to see the road and confirmed that there is a lot of damage and it was difficult for him to travel even a short ways in his pickup truck.
“We need some relief because we don’t have anywhere else to turn,” said resident Bob Caldwell.
County Attorney Heath English stated if the road is in fact a public county road, there is an ordinance in place to help with relief due to the damage being caused by the logging company. However, the question at large is still whether or not it is a private road or a public road. The commissioners stated if it is a public road then they will do what is possible to get it fixed and asked the residents to give them some time to continue to research to see if that can be determined.
“We will continue to work on this,” said Chairman Blackston.
In other business, the board approved an agreement with the City of Barnesville to allow their animal control unit to use the Upson County Animal Control facilities for the euthanasia of their animals. Upson County Animal Control Director Corey Releford stated the cost for Barnesville to do so is $15 per animal and that covers the expense of the drugs needed. He also added that the City of Barnesville would be transporting their animals back to Lamar County to be buried. Commissioner Wilder made a motion to approve the agreement and it was seconded by Commissioner Frank Spraggins and passed unanimously.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1.