Washington County Road Closing

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If you live in a rural community you appreciate some of the few roads that give you easy access to main highways, but what if your county commission stopped maintaining these roads, allowing the land owners to close them?

That's exactly what could happen to a community in Washington County.

Leonard Dean and his neighbors may soon have to live without some easy access roads in their community.

Leonard says, "And from my understanding, the land owners did not construct neither one of these roads. Some of these roads have been there over 80 years. They were constructed with public funds."

But commissioners have begun discussing abounding the maintenance of about five roads in southwest Washington County because of an issue: dumping.

"You go down the state highways, you see people dumping all across the area. Dumping is the reason that they are using, but that's not the real reason. You go look behind the hidden picture."

Northern Trust, who owns the land that these roads run through, has filed a lawsuit against Washington County because of the dumping in the area. Some county officials hope by allowing the roads to be closed, the issue can be settled out of court.

Jerry Sapp, Washington County Commissioner, District 3, says, "I’ve looked at the roads and around them several times, and for the life of me I still can't figure out why it creates that much havoc to close these roads. It's really not crossing anything other than Northern Trust properties."

And as for Dean's claims of a hidden agenda, "We do land clearing and stuff all over Bay County and on the beach area and very little in Washington County. We do clear land, but it has nothing to do with this."

If the roads were to close, it would affect everything from mail carriers to school bus routes and even waste management.

The County Commission plans to hold a public meeting on February 24 to further discuss the issue.