Consider standards for road conversion

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 24, 2005

Facing more requests to make some private roads public,supervisors expressed dismay with the amount of time it was takingto establish a policy setting minimum standards for suchroadways.

“We said we would get some road recommendations from ourengineer on this (before passing a policy), but that has not beendone,” said District Four Supervisor Doug Moak.

County Engineer Carl Ray Furr has said he would providerecommendations to the board for the past several months but hasnot done so.

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Supervisors were presented with about six new requests Tuesdayfrom county residents proposing their roads become public roadways.Road-conversion requests emerge frequently at board meetings.

Under the current process, converting a road from private topublic requires a petition signed by someone from all residences onthe road. Once presented to the board, the road is visited by twosupervisors from outside the district who report their findings tothe board, which then votes on the road.

Road concerns, in general, are based on spending county funds toget proposed roads up to the minimum standards, supervisorssaid.

Although some proposals for road conversion are for well-pavedroads that meet minimum width standards, have good shoulders andrights-of-way and meet other criteria, most roads converted topublic roadways must be improved.

Supervisors say, however, that a road should have to meetminimum standards before being made public in order to ensure thatpublic funds are spent on other projects with wider impact.

What that standard should be, however, is a topic ofdiscussion.

Once a road becomes public, it must be maintained by the countyin perpetuity. And, if a road does not allow the passage of twovehicles traveling in opposite directions, it must be widened.

“The people who want that road public need to take some of thatexpense,” Moak said to the general agreement of the board.

A requirement under consideration Tuesday would be for residentsalong the road to cover the cost of a survey to determine where theroad begins and ends and establish acceptable rights-of-way.

The way roads are accepted now, they can be designated to stop,for example, “at a resident’s house.” However, County Attorney BobAllen pointed out that “a resident’s house” is not veryspecific.

“Does that mean it stops at the property line, the garage, thefront door,” Allen asked. “I guess it stops where you want it tostop.”