A group opposed to the installation of speed humps in their Evans subdivision lost their battle Tuesday with the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
Several residents of Rivermont Drive told commissioners they were misled months ago into signing a petition they said they were told was to initiate a study to consider installing speed-control devices - not to approve the installation.
Other residents said some of the signatures on the original petition were invalid and several more, such as James Wilson, said they rescinded their vote on subsequent surveys because they felt they were misled.
"At that time I was told it was a study," he said.
Augusta attorney Ken Nimmons, representing Rivermont resident Leo Charette, told commissioners that the county codes governing the petition process have conflicting language, and that a window was open for a legal challenge.
He also said codes state that speed humps aren't appropriate for roads that access areas with the potential for future subdivision, such as Rivermont.
Charette said not all residents affected by the humps, such as those who live on River Lane but use Rivermont as a thoroughfare, were included in the first petition circulated by Nancy Jackson. Charette has said he also was not included in the first petition.
Jackson, a Rivermont Drive resident, said she followed county policy in presenting the first petition. She said she also received the needed 70 percent approval of 90 percent of those with property abutting the road.
She said those who oppose the speed humps used coercion to get others to change their votes in subsequent neighborhood surveys by Charette once installation of the humps began. She said the first vote should stand.
Bonnie Cameron, a proponent of the humps called Rivermont Drive a "rollercoaster."
"I hope everyone can bear the burden if someone is killed," she said to opponents of the humps.
Before the nearly hour-long debate over the humps, Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle said he favors the devices to slow traffic.
"My opinion is simple: they work. Speed humps work," he said. "They are a 24/7 traffic cop."
The board approved the proposal to resume construction of the speed humps by a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Steve Brown opposed and Commissioners Lee Anderson and Diane Ford absent.
In other business, commissioners unanimously approved $123,681 to fund the installation of Radio Frequency Identification systems to be installed in the Euchee Creek and Harlem libraries. Under the system, tags will be placed on books that will permit patrons to check out books on their own and allow staff to quickly inventory their library's collection.
A similar system is already in place at the new Columbia County Library in Evans.
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