It was an odd situation rarely seen in a county meeting - a group of residents making a plea for Columbia County not to pave their dirt road.
Some of the residents on Summit Ridge Road in Columbia County are opposed to the county's plans to pave the road, asserting that pavement would destroy the country atmosphere.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
But even stranger to officials was the fact that across the room a second group of residents wanted their dirt road paved, even though county officials said a priority list prevents that from happening anytime soon.
"This is a little bit of a reverse,'' said commission Chairman Ron Cross at a public works committee meeting Thursday, speaking to the group that argued against having their dirt road paved on Summit Ridge Road.
At one point, to the laughter of those in the room, residents in attendance wanting a paved road at Gunnoe Road said they would gladly swap with those on Summit Ridge.
Committee members in the end agreed to table the proposed paving at Summit Ridge until all residents could receive letters about the possibility. Those on Gunnoe Road also were told further talks would occur concerning the needed right of way but that it could still be several years before their road would be paved.
Kevin Lear, the county's construction and maintenance director, said the two roads are among a total of about 100 dirt roads remaining in the county, covering 60 miles. He said the county would like to pave them all, but they must be prioritized because of limited funds.
Dr. Michael Hodos, a resident of Summit Ridge Road, gave a list of reasons to commissioners about why he feels his road should remain dirt.
"We moved there to keep it a nice country dirt road, and we'd like to keep it that way,'' he said.
Hodos said a dirt road is better for water runoff, prevents fast driving and is even easier on the joints when running on the road.
"It also keeps a country feeling to the area, which we like,'' he said. "Living in Columbia County, it's getting more and more difficult to find an old country road.''
But Lear said the majority of those living on Summit Ridge have expressed their support of having the road paved. Lear also said that, in part, the road has been prioritized because of growth in the area. The road is off Old Washington Road near the Greenbrier area and is one of only six dirt roads remaining in its district, Lear said.
"It's somewhat ironic to have a group of folks that don't want their road paved and a group that does,'' he said.
Lear then turned to residents of Gunnoe Road, which is just west of Harlem at the Columbia and McDuffie County line, and told them their road hasn't been at the top of a priority list for the exact opposite reasons as why Summit Ridge has been.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.