The Barbourville City Council Chambers were standing-room only during the February meeting Thursday, as several residents from a subdivision stood together to address the condition of roads near their homes.

The group, unofficially represented by Dr. Randall “Doc” Walters, also a resident of the Three Oaks Subdivision, expressed concerns over their crumbling roads, consisting of disintegrating asphalt and gravel, that is riddled with ruts and potholes.

The primary issue with addressing the road conditions is ownership of the roads themselves. While several homes occupy the area, the roads still belong to the housing developer, which prohibit the City from taking control of maintenance of the roads.

According to Walters, developer Charles Sprinkles requested the City annex the development on April 2, 2009.

Walters said “(I’m) resolved to get this problem fixed,” said Dr. Walters.

The group of residents have previously approached the City for help before, but without ownership of the roads, there was nothing that could be done from a legal standpoint.

“At the end of the day, we still don’t own the roads,” said Mayor David Thompson. “We have tried to help with gravel if there are holes, because we don’t want to run our police cars up there, ambulances or fire trucks.”

Per state guidelines, “We can’t just accept them unless it’s in a certain shape,” Thompson said, referring to specifications concerning asphalt density, drainage and gravel.

Thompson went on to say that the City had reached out to Hinkle Contracting for a quote on blacktopping the roads, bringing them up to state specifications so the City could take them over.

“We have contacted Hinkle (Contracting) and got a quote from them on a price for the blacktop, on what it would take… like it has to be done… that price is $103,700,” said Thompson. “That’s doing all the roads now, to each house, to the farthest house.”

Sprinkles commented his support for helping the residents in Three Oaks.

“If I could help what’s been built up there, I’ll stop it right now and not build more houses up there. Whatever it takes to get these people some help,” said Sprinkles.

Back-and-forth discussion for nearly an hour on who was responsible for the roads and how to address the situation often touched on de-annexation, a move that would require a measure to be placed on the ballot at election time. If the de-annexation were approved, under current circumstances, the Fiscal Court would have no more authority to repair and maintain the roads as does the City.

The City has declared its intention to accept the roads if three conditions are met. The first condition is proper blacktopping. Second would be proper drain tiles installed, and finally, a clear deed be granted to the City, giving it ownership over the roads.

Councilman Ronnie Moore made a motion to accept this proposal to move forward, which would leave the burden of fixing the roads to state specifications on the developer.

Councilwoman Wilma Barnes commented, “If I paid that amount of money for property for a home… I can’t imagine paying that price for a home and not having decent roads and sidewalks, things you are supposed to have. But, they (the developer) should’ve done it. I don’t know how your deed reads, but there are two or three up there, their deeds actually says they are supposed to blacktop and fix sidewalks when they sold them that land.”

Before adjourning, the City said it will work with Sprinkles to fix drain tiles, and work with him going forward on a plan to fix the roads so they can be deeded to the City.

Charles is a native of Barbourville, Kentucky. He has worked with The Mountain Advocate in various capacities since 2003.

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