June 23, 2018
Despite pleas from neighbors on Eagle Dr., both the County Manager, Mike Benton, and the P&Z Director, Shane Sealy, have ignored the dangerous situation reported on Jackson Lake Rd. at the entrance to the new subdivision (“The Peninsula”). In addition, they have also ignored County Ordinance Sec. 105-222. – Improvements to existing streets and rights-of-way for subdivisions despite requests for a review of Eagle Dr. for more than 3 months.
The developers started moving in heavy equipment on June 4, and used Eagle Dr. to get to the staging area. According to our county ordinance, “b) Existing paved road. Any existing paved county road upon which a subdivision has frontage and/or access and which is deficient relative to county specifications (see Tables 105-221.1 and 105-221.2) shall be resurfaced and widened as determined by the county department of transportation for the entire frontage of the subdivision.”
Eagle Dr. is deficient and has been deficient, and the heavy trucks using it now to deliver rock, equipment, and other materials, will damage Eagle Dr. even further. Shane Sealy has ignored requests to have the road inspected as required by the ordinance since March 15, 2018. He has said that he had to ask the county attorney for an opinion on whether #105-222 (b) applied. What part of “shall” does Mr. Sealy not understand? After three (3) months, Mr. Sealy has expressed in an email that he has just been “too busy” to come out and look at Eagle Dr.
It appears that Sealy is allowing the developers to move forward without the required road inspection. The developers are supposed to be responsible for the resurfacing of Eagle Dr., and the damages, not the taxpayers. The longer the inspection is delayed the more damage to Eagle Dr. and the less responsibility to the developers. All five commissioners and the County Manager are aware of the issue, and none of them has done anything.
Even though the final plat has not been approved, work has begun on The Peninsula. According to Shane Sealy, there was an amendment to the preliminary plat allowing this work to be done. No one knows what this amendment is as there was no public hearing concerning it.
Dring this week (6/20-6/22/18), the entrance road for The Peninsula was being cut. The entrance is in a curve on Jackson Lake Rd.
Coming from E going W
Coming from W going E
Bulldozers and other equipment have worked right up to Jackson Lake Rd., without warning signs or barrels to warn motorist. There is a big drop-off. This has presented a dangerous situation.
On 6/22/18 at approximately 10:00AM, Mike Benton was called about the unsafe conditions on Jackson Lake Rd. in the construction area. He said if there were unsafe conditions, he would get it taken care of right away. At 3:00PM, there were still no barrels, and Comm. Jernigan was contacted. Comm. Jernigan said that he went and inspected the work site and felt that it was not safe. He then called Mike Benton again, and asked him to have 2 orange barrels brought out. Later that evening the barrels finally arrived.
This entire project is under the supervision of Shane Sealy as P&Z Director. His job is to protect the citizens of the county and make sure things are done according to code; his job is not to help out the developers at taxpayers’ expense. Ignoring the ordinance to inspect and document the condition of Eagle Dr., allowing work with an amendment to the plat that no one knows about, and ignoring dangerous road conditions caused by the construction work, are not good signs. Not knowing the code and having to ask the county attorney to “look into” every little thing is becoming costly for the taxpayers. Mr. Sealy has said that, “The next hearing will be for approval of the Final Plat. It cannot be approved until construction is complete.” It is hard to comprehend letting the work go forward, then having a public hearing to approve the plat AFTER the work is done.
It seems the people on Eagle Dr. should not worry about their road being damaged and used by heavy trucks and equipment because Comm. Jernigan told one of the neighbors concerned about it, “You know, eventually all roads in the county are going to be resurfaced.” We are all wondering in whose lifetime will that occur?
These issues have consequences for every county taxpayer. We will end up paying for the damage to the road and the resurfacing, while the developers get rich.
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.