Lincoln County supervisors say not so fast on turnarounds

Published 7:41 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A request to maintain a school bus turnaround on Peyton Lane hit a bump Monday when a Lincoln County supervisor questioned the legality of doing it.

Two bus turnarounds were put before District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey. He accepted one on Tampa Drive, but wants to study the situation on Peyton Lane further. A section of the road, off Hwy. 550, is undergoing a change from private to public. However, a half-mile to three-quarters of a mile of the road will remain private just before the school-bus turnaround. Falvey is concerned the county could be libel if the private road is damaged getting to the turnaround for maintenance.

“I don’t go in on a private road to fix a bus turnaround,” President Eddie Brown, District 4, said. “If you damage the private road, then you’re responsible.”

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County attorney Bob Allen said bus turnarounds are discretionary to the board, it’s not a mandate.

“The board may at its discretion assist on school bus turnarounds,” Allen said.

“It is discretionary, but how can I do one and not do another?” Falvey asked.

“You’ve got to stay consistent,” Allen replied. “I wouldn’t touch it.”

In December, supervisors voted to require bus drivers to sign off on applications for school bus turnarounds because the board was being asked to create turnarounds that would likely not be used in an effort to upgrade driveways on the county’s dime.

Law prohibits repair or maintenance of private roads more than 150 feet from the center line of a public road. Parents or guardians whose property is the last driveway on a route that a bus travels can apply for a school bus turnaround at the Lincoln County School District’s transportation office. They can also apply if a stop on the road threatens the safety of the bus occupants.

The transportation director reviews the application and physically inspects the location before signing approval. Then it goes to the Lincoln County School Board for approval and the superintendent’s signature.

From there it goes to the Board of Supervisors for final approval and a signature from the board president.

Brown said the time and gravel involved for each turnaround can cost the county several hundred dollars.

Applications must be renewed each year.

While discussing the turnaround, Allen called for supervisors to appoint two members other than Falvey, since it’s his district, to inspect the part of the road that is to become public as part of the acceptance process.

District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson and District 2 Supervisor Jerry McGehee will be joined by county engineer Ryan Holmes to inspect the half-mile of road.