The request to close a Hall County road has raised questions about private property rights. The property in question runs along Elm Island Road, just off of Highway 281 in Alda.
"There's all sorts of issues that goes on out there, and right now the county sheriff's got to drive down a road that virtually leads nowhere to patrol it, to see if there's poaching, or trespassing, or kids having parties out there. And all of those have happened, so we're just protecting our property," said Chuck Cooper, President and CEO of the Crane Trust.
The Crane Trust and Trevor Johnson are the only landowners along the road. They want to put a gate like near the entrance of road, but the Hall County Public Works Director Casey Sherlock disagreed, and added that an existing gate near the end of the road should also be removed.
Sherlock said one reason is because emergency officials may need access to the property.
"A situation where for whatever reason Mr. Johnson or the Crane Trust could be clear back in that road and a blizzard comes up, lives are in danger. They're going to want us to come back in there and open it up, and at that point it'll be private property," said Sherlock.
"It's not unusual on any private property that they just simply snip the padlock on it and enter it," countered Cooper. In addition, Cooper noted that the existing gate is on Crane Trust property.
Sherlock, however, said that it's not completely private property, as a1904 easement gives the county access to the road. He also said he's not completely against the gate on Crane Trust property either, it just needs to be done right.
"The proper procedure would be for the Crane Trust to come forward and say, we own property on both sides of the road, we'd like the county to vacate the easement," said Sherlock.
The board has scheduled a public hearing on the matter for November 20, 2012 at 10 a.m.