Photo: Several residents of the Tillison Bend community spoke at the June 7 meeting of the Eto-wah County Commission. (katie Bohannon/Messenger)
By Robb Corker/Staff Correspondent
At the June 7 meeting of the Etowah County Commission, a number of residents of the Tillison Bend community presented a united front in regard to safety hazards precipitated by a newly opened RV park in the neighborhood.
Community members sought to ensure a 2010 access management policy requiring the RV park’s owner to cover the expense of widening the road would be adhered to.
“We’re just a small community, and we’re a very good community,” said Brian Bobbis. “We watch out for each other. That’s why there are so many people here today. We look out for the safety of our community.”
Members of the community presented civil records, photographs and measurements supporting the need to widen the road at least as far as what property was already earmarked for the expansion.
“I measured the road this morning,” said Adam Frazier. “From the edge of the pavement to the edge of the pavement is 18 feet, 5 inches….Lonz and Tillison Road is a 30-foot road. Later, when they did later subdivisions, they went to 50 feet. That means from the center line to the edge of your property, there is not but 15 feet on each side…but only 18 feet and 5 inches was pavement.”
Angela Gray led a demonstration the prior day of the difficulties in navigating a recreational vehicle on the narrow roads in the neighborhood.
“I’ve got pictures of our RV running off the road, almost hitting mailboxes. I’ve got videos of us making the sharp turns and how you can’t do it without going over the line. If you measure mirror to mirror, [our fifth wheel] is 122 inches. I measured Tillison Road from the edge of the asphalt to the center of the yellow line, and it was only 104 inches.”
Many residents alluded to a road access policy established by the commission in 2010 requiring new property owners to cover the cost of accessing Tillison Bend roads, asserting that the exigent need for wider roads to promote the safety of its residents placed the burden of cost on the RV park’s owner.
“I’m not even sure why we’re even talking about this,” said Shae Thompson. “This road access policy has been in place and enforced since 2010. Are we looking to change this? It has been working. We have always made other people accountable, so why all of a sudden is this the thing that’s holding it up?”
Commissioner Joey Statum cited the county road access policy in remarks to the full commission chamber after hearing the concerns of the Tillison’s Bend residents.
“The County Road Access Management Policy that has been in place since 2010 requires the county to administer that through the county engineer that the resident, firm, individual or company has to ahead of time get that approved before they can do anything, but this company and this individual has chosen not to do that. That has been my stance the whole time with this commission and with you. Our county access policy specifically says that the responsibility of that firm, owner or person to widen the road to whatever degree that the county engineer says.”
Rather than complying with the existing agreement, the business owner hired an outside engineer and has since threatened suit against the commission, which remain steadfast in its support of the 2010 county road access agreement.
Statum committed his support for the existing agreement.
“I give you my pledge that I’ll do everything that I possibly can to hold him accountable to the county road access policy.”