We live on a hill on the SouthEast corner of CR 118 and CR 49. About 8 years ago, Elbert County approached us to give them some dirt from our corner. They didn’t offer us any money for the dirt. They ended up taking many semi-loads of dirt off our corner to use as road base in other parts of the county, implying that it was our civic duty to give it to them. I lost count of the loads – maybe 30 semi truck loads, maybe more. They brought in an earth mover to scrape the dirt off into a very large pile. Then they brought in a large front loader to fill county gravel trucks to haul it out of here. The operation took weeks.
To repeat, they offered no compensation for the dirt. Zero.
Our property runs along hills on both CR 49 and CR 118. When it rains heavily, dirt from the county roads washes into our pastures on both sides. We have large fans – I would guess hundreds of yards – of county road dirt washed on to our property that the county has shown no interest in removing.
On the CR 118 wash, a transverse culvert for moving water from pasture to the north to pasture to the south has been covered up. On the CR 49 side, we’ve had to raise the fence because the ground keeps rising.
Not a word from the county. No compensation for the dirt we gave them. No offers to remove the dirt washed in from the roads they maintain.
And I would mention none of this if it weren’t for the following. Come to find out, Elbert County considers a few yards of county dirt quite valuable – worth prosecuting over.
Now comes my neighbor across CR 118 to the North. His driveway washed out at the road, resulting in a deep cut from a heavy rain this summer, and he repaired it in order to get cars in an out. He used his small tractor to fill in the rut. His driveway is on the crown of a hill and, as we have seen, water moves dirt downhill.
The county issued a summons against him and made him go to court to answer charges, possibly including theft of county dirt, to fill a rut. He hired a local attorney and went to court. Now he has another court date in September and a restraining order that prevents him from speaking to the county.
There’s a large inequity here folks when a citizen maintains his own driveway entrance to fill a rut by moving a couple yards of dirt from where it washed down into a ditch, and that offends the county and causes them to use the sheriff and the court to harass that citizen.
But when the county benefits from taking large amounts of dirt, and leaves “their” dirt on someone’s land when they don’t want to bother recovering it after the road they’ve built washes, they’re silent.
A large inequity indeed.