The man who has been ordered to remove a gate across a county road indicated recently the issue is not as simple as the county commission
believes and said misstatements have been made about the topic.
Grant Manning, in an email response to WJLE, said the gate has been up for over four years and he has maintained the road since 1990.
The county commission last month went on record to direct the Road Supervisor to take the necessary action to have the gate removed on
Sunset Drive off Allen Bend Road in the Belk community.
Manning referred to a 2004 decision from the county's planning commission in an effort to further clarify the issue.
"In a County Commission meeting of November 9, 2015 they elected to change the intent of the instructions on the plat, approved by and
given to us by the DeKalb County Planning Commission in 2004,'" Manning said.
"In 2004 they came out and spoke to us, and gave us a copy of Subdivision Regulations for DeKalb County Tennessee. They referred to
diagram 6, page 20, and told us that if the main farm portion was ever sold the new owner would have to provide their own gravel driveway and
connect it to the wider portion of our existing driveway behind an existing residence," he continued "The reason given then was one of
safety. The small driveway (9 feet wide) does a very sharp right turn about 200 feet in. He walked us down to that point and said that they
probably wouldn't be able to get fire equipment around that tight turn, and as the other side of the driveway dropped off quite badly, that was the only way the plat would be approved".
But at the November commission meeting, County Attorney Hilton Conger gave a different version of the story.
"There's a plat that was approved by the planning commission in 2004 and the people who owned that property subdivided a 1.8 acre tract off
of that and it referred to two roads, Sunset Drive and Hidden Hollow Way. Those two roads are shown on the DeKalb County Road list and have been since 1998. They certainly don't meet county specifications. One of them is nine feet wide," he said. "When this plat was approved there was a notation that was entered on the plat which provided that should the current owners sell that property or that property be otherwise transferred then the remaining acreage would not have its primary access along this 20 foot easement with a nine foot wide gravel driveway," said Conger.
The planning commission minutes from the 2004 meeting on this matter state that" these 2 roads (Sunset Drive and Hidden Hollow Way) are
listed on the 911 Map and the Official County Road List and Map. The status of these roads was then discussed in detail. If Sunset Drive and Hidden Hollow Way are not considered county roads, then access to the 2 existing homes could be affected if access is controlled by the subdivided lot".
"Although the gravel drive is utilized for primary access for both residences, the house at 500 Sunset Drive will still contain approximately 261 feet of road frontage on Allen Bend Road, if the subdivision is approved. Consequently, this house is not being land-locked, but the resident will be required to construct a new driveway to Allen Bend Road. After further discussion on the matter, staff stated that a plat restriction should be included on the plat if these are not county roads stating that if the property is subdivided further, a new road will be required to be constructed that meets the
county road specifications," according to the planning commission minutes
Conger told the commission in November "The current owner of that residual property, he (Mannning) and one of the owners I think are in a dispute over this but at any rate the owner of the property (Manning) put a gate across this road back a few months ago. It came to the attention of the planning commission and its the planning commission's recommendation to the commission that the gate be removed."
"As far as I know, the new owner and myself are not in a dispute,"Manning said.
"He (neighbor) bought and paid for his portion of the farm, but because of the2004 decision by the DeKalb County Planning Commission written on my plat, he was obligated to put in his own gravel driveway wherever on his land he wanted to," Manning argued. "Trying to be a good neighbor
I told him he was welcome to use my small driveway as it had served all of us well over the past 25 years. But, I wanted him to sign a
license' which would define our relationship and limit my liability. He chose not to."
Manning said the gate was installed in May 2011 after an incident in March that year.
"Two highly intoxicated males came onto the farm in their truck and took out 60 feet of fence, got stuck, got unstuck, and left the farm careening
at a high rate of speed," Manning said. Then later "we had numerous ATV intrusions, where the kiddies would destroy the graded gravel road
surface despite being posted," he said. "Since the gate went up, it has kept the drunks and ATVs off the farm."
Manning also said he has maintained the road for several years and he has evidence to prove it.
"I have maintained the roads since 1990 when we built and paid for them. I have kept the gravel up using Rogers, and Mid Tn Limestone in
Rock Island, and have receipts and/or check stubs to document all of it," Manning said.
"The county has bush hogged the roads a few times over the past 25 years, but I've always done that too. They recently brought me three
loads of gravel, about one a year, the first they have since October 2012, which was the last time I got any from Mid TN Limestone."
Manning said the commission made its decision without any input from him."I am now 70, and had to spend two months of my Social Security just
to hire an attorney as things have gotten way out of hand," Manning added.
Manning did not say whether he will take down the gate as demanded by the county but he has reportedly retained an attorney on this matter.