The County Commission has rejected a request to post a 35 mile per hour speed limit on Ragland Bottom Road.
During Monday night's regular monthly commission meeting, Fifth district member Jerry Adcock presented a petition signed by twelve residents on Ragland Bottom Road asking that the county post a speed limit there. “This petition hereby acknowledges that we as citizens of DeKalb County and residents of Ragland Bottom Road ask for speed limit postings of no greater than 25 miles per hour to be placed in four places along the lake access road,” the petition states.
Although the petition asked for a posting of 25 miles per hour, Commissioner Adcock moved that the speed limit on Ragland Bottom Road be set at 35 miles per hour. Fifth District Commissioner Anita Puckett offered a second to the motion. Unauthorized speed limit signs already posted on the road have not been enforceable because they were placed there by a private citizen without the county’s approval.
Under state law, the speed limit on any county road is 55 miles per hour unless the county designates a reduced speed limit posting.
“This is not something I want to go into the business of but if it will appease the people and if it is a hazard and a danger (I will support it), “ said Commissioner Puckett.
“My worry is that it gives the residents a false sense of security because there is not enough (law enforcement) manpower to patrol it. We could probably bankrupt the county trying to put signs up (everywhere) and while they would hold weight because we voted on them, unless the sheriff saw somebody speeding nothing would ever get solved,” said Third District Commissioner Jack Barton.
“But that is true on any stretch of road,” replied Commissioner Adcock.
“There have been no reported accidents on that stretch of road (Ragland Bottom Road). It’s not an accident prone highway,” added Sixth District Commissioner Betty Atnip.
Adcock’s motion to establish the 35 mile per hour speed limit on Ragland Bottom Road failed on a voice vote by the commission.
In other business, the commission voted 9-4-1 to remove a portion of Jones Lane from the county road list upon the recommendation of the DeKalb County Regional Planning Commission and Road Supervisor Butch Agee.
Jones Lane, a 1,056 foot road, is located off Dale Ridge Road and serves members of one family who own property on both sides of the road.
Earlier this year a member of the family presented a letter to Road Supervisor Agee requesting that 636 feet of the road be removed from the county road list. Agee then approached the planning commission with the request and his recommendation for approval. The planning commission voted to schedule a public hearing after a notice was published. The hearing was held in July without any public opposition expressed. The planning commission then voted to recommend to the county commission that the request be approved. But at the July meeting, members of the county commission asked that the issue be revisited by the planning commission to consider the possibility of recommending total closure of the road. However the planning commission did not change its recommendation.
During Monday night’s county commission meeting, Third District member Barton moved to follow the recommendation of the planning commission and Road Supervisor. Fourth District member Jonathan Norris offered a second to the motion.
Concerns were raised by some that Jones Lane has no adequate turnaround and that one should be built by the property owners as a condition for closing a portion of the road
“The turnaround is the issue not the closing of the road. Some of us thought we had a verbal agreement between us that (we were going to require) a cul de sac turnaround for all roads closed and now we’re doing (allowing) a hammerhead (turnaround). We need to be in uniformity in what we’re going to be accepting when we close a road,” said Sixth District member Atnip.
“I think the road closure process that we approved two months ago said that it has to be at the discretion of the road superintendent. I don’t remember a specific turnaround (requirement),” Commissioner Barton replied.
“There will be some areas where a cul de sac cannot be built,” added County Mayor Tim Stribling.
Commissioners Mason Carter, Julie Young, Bradley Hendrix, Jack Barton, Wayne Cantrell, Jonathan Norris, Anita Puckett, Jeff Barnes, and Kevin Robinson voted in favor of closing 636 feet of Jones Lane.
Commissioners Joe Johnson, Larry Summers, Jimmy Midgett, and Betty Atnip voted against it and Commissioner Jerry Adcock passed.
The county commission has voted to purchase property on Cookeville Highway from the Tennessee Department of Transportation where the Cherry Hill Community Center is located for $7,200, the fair market value established by TDOT.
Although the state deeded the 0.24 acre site to DeKalb County in August, 1981, a restriction required the county to use the property only for "public purposes". After taking control of the site in the 1980’s the county constructed the Cherry Hill Community Center there. In recent years community interest in the center has waned and the building is now in need of repairs. Members of the county commission have expressed an interest in either disposing of the property or leasing it.
"When we buy the property we will have total control of it and that restriction for “ public use” will be removed from the deed,” said County Mayor Stribling.
When asked by Sixth District Commissioner Atnip where the county would get the funds to purchase the property since it wasn’t budgeted, County Mayor Stribling said it could come from the county’s fund balance or capital projects fund.
Pam Redmon was appointed to a three year term on the DeKalb County Library Board of Trustees.