Gilmer County’s Board of Commissioners held a regular scheduled meeting last Thursday.
During the public comment portion, two citizens approached the podium and addressed the board. Their complaints focused on an excessive amount of traffic on Ridgeway Church Road. Citizen Rachel Schultz explained the situation:
“As far as the traffic, we have to deal with tractor trailers, greyhound buses, tour buses, concrete trucks, Camp Highland’s vans, vans from other counties, school buses, garbage trucks, low boy trucks hauling equipment, church buses. Untold, they house 5500 children..Parents picking their children up, bringing them back, food trucks, trucks pulling ski boats, and vehicles pulling empty trailers.”
The discussion went on to allege that Camp Highlands, which is located at the end of the road, was responsible for a large portion of the traffic.
“The camp is something that, as far as I know, is legal. And it’s legal to for them to travel on the road.”
Chairman Sanford said while explaining that the situation was out of the board’s control.
According to Bill Chapman, founder of Camp Highlands, anywhere from 750 – 1200 campers visit their site each year.
“There’s no doubt we have an issue with dust and excessive traffic on the road, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a solvable issue. I feel honored to have a problem like this to resolve”
Chapman went on to say that they’re willing to consider all options, but he doubts there’s a private solution.
Saturday August 16th, an FYN reporter visited the Camp Highland area of Ridgeway Church Road. While only a handful of cars were out at that time (afternoon), one car did speed past- leaving an enormous dust cloud. The road itself is barely wide enough for two cars in most spots, and down to a single lane in others.
FYN reached out to Camp Highlands to hear their side of the story.
At the meeting, the chairman requested that four 15mph white and black signs be ordered and placed on the road.
A number of other agenda items were covered in the meeting: the financial report, appointment of John Reece to the Board of Land Use Appeals (approved), 3 parcels rezoned (all approved), the purchase of side arm bush hog (approved). The HUD’s fair housing rule and service deliver strategy were both tabled.