County officials are looking at repair options for a private cut-through road they say has become a public safety issue.
Crumbling asphalt and potholes on Dawson Village Way South, which runs between El Campesino and SunTrust Bank on Hwy. 53 East to Kani House and Walgreens on Ga. 400, are to blame for damaging at least one car, according to Dawson County Attorney Joey Homans.
"We've already had one claim come in where a lady was trying to exit this road last year and one of these defects in the road caused substantial damage to her vehicle," he said during last week's Dawson County Board of Commissioner's work session.
"We notified that individual that it was not a public road and she would need to contact the owner of the property."
Homans said the road issues came into question in recent weeks as intersection improvements at Hwy. 53 and Ga. 400 continue to move forward.
"When we conclude the continuous flow intersection, there will be a stoplight at this location onto the now Kroger lot," he said. "The issue is that the public will be directed this way more as we connect to the state route."
He also cited public safety issues associated with the condition of the road.
Homans referred to a similar case in College Park in which the road was deemed a public nuisance by the court.
"A public nuisance would be trying to get emergency vehicles up and down this road in a safe manner and providing a road that the public would routinely travel in a safe manner," he said.
Homans told commissioners of several options the county could take in resolving the matter.
"If you pursue it as a nuisance, then the idea would be we ask the judge to declare it a nuisance and allow the county to go in and affect the repairs," he said. "The estimate we received was $48,000 and some change."
If that route is taken, the county would make the repairs and then seek payment from the owner.
Another option, he said, would be to make repairs to the road with the intention of acquiring the road into the county system.
"The public routinely uses that roadway and has for more than seven years, and you would direct that under these circumstances we go with county personnel and county equipment and continue to repair and maintain it and under the law, we would acquire it through prescription," Homans said.
In the latter case, the landowner could consider the matter a reverse condemnation issue and seek retribution from the county for the cost of the land.
The current owner of Dawson Village Way South, MB REO GA Land, LLC, has not responded to repeated requests from the county to either repair the road or dedicate the road to the county, according to Homans.
"The attorney for the owner believed that the owner would dedicate the roadway, but such dedication has not been forthcoming," he said in his report to the commission last week.
The commission is expected to vote on the matter during Thursday's 6 p.m. meeting.