Dispute over Chinook Drive paving put on hold

Lucas Vance Staff Writer

August 29, 2013

WINNSBORO — Since March, Fairfield County citizens Robert Shull and Val Green have been in dispute with the county over the paving of Chinook Drive, located in District 3, and it appears as if the situation has approached a stalemate.

Green told The Herald Independent that Interim County Administrator Milton Pope agreed to not pave the driveway for at least 30 days.

“We had a very nice conversation and he agreed to at least postpone the paving,” Green said. “While we (Shull and Green) would like the paving to be permanently postponed, we at least have some extra time to come up with a long-term solution.”

Chinook Drive was scheduled to be paved at the end of this month, but Shull and Green have protested the paving, citing there is no public benefit and it would be a misuse of county funds.

The driveway was put on the priority list in 2012 with a total of 27.5 points, which ranked it 18th on the list. Chinook Drive is a dead end with no thruways, no turn around, four residences and is only .9-mile long.

During a June meeting of Fairfield County Council, both Shull and Green expressed concern that the county was going to move forward paving Chinook Drive. Council Chairman David Ferguson asked the county administrator to go back and check into the issue and make sure the due diligence was being done.

Last month, Shull and Green continued their protest by parking a log skidder on the driveway to prevent the paving after the two sides could still not come to an agreement.

Green spoke to the county paving consultant, Bill Coleman, and David Williams, chairman of the County Transportation Committee, to have Chinook Drive removed from a priority list set up by the CTC. However, the final OK to postpone the paving came from Pope this week.

The county claims to have prescriptive easement over Chinook Drive but Shull said the county does not maintain the road.

Even if the county did have prescriptive easement and wanted to pave the road, Green believes they are missing the first step.

“They (county) would have to do additional work to prevent the road from being washed out during a heavy rain,” he noted. “In order to do that, they would have to widen the road and that would be considered burdening the easement. If that happens, then the residents need to be compensated.”

Green said that although the situation looks a whole lot brighter than it did a month ago, the case could still end up in court.