New Hope Roads

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Washington County commissioners are plotting legal strategy as they prepare for a lawsuit filed by a large land owner.

The dispute centers around illegal dumping on a number of roads in the New Hope area.

This all started back in February when Northern Trust threatened to close 17 roads that run through the company-owned property. Residents successfully convinced county commissioners to continue maintaining the roads, which keeps them open, so Northern Trust sued.

Tuesday morning Washington County commissioners met behind closed doors in executive session. The topic? How to handle the lawsuit filed against them by Northern Trust Company.

County commissioners would not say whether they'll settle, but residents in western Washington County are concerned.

Willie Jackson, who's lived on Jackson Community Road for over 60 years, says he depends on the road to get to his doctor's office.

"If they close these roads here that will cut us off from one another, so that will be the end of us."

Jackson says every person in this community is afraid about what will happen if Northern Trust wins and the roads close.

"The neighbors, we are all against it. They want to keep the road open."

Bell Community Road and James Potter Road are just two of 17 roads named in the lawsuit. County commissioners may be keeping a tight lip about what was discussed in Tuesday morning's meeting, but the people in New Hope are expressing their opinions.

Tommy Cotter, a New Hope resident, says, "We wouldn't have any emergency service like if there's a fire. You have to call 9-1-1 for an injury and couldn't get out and couldn't get in, period, if they close Holmes Valley Road."

Gussie Smith adds, "The garbage truck, it goes around in a circle and picks up garbage, so how are they going to get out? How can they pick up the garbage?"

Northern Trust officials claim illegal dumping is the main reason for the lawsuit.