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WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2007
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Morgan keeps road public in family feud

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com · 340-2437

A feud Monday between two families about whether a road is private or public resulted in a man threatening court action against the Morgan County Commission.

The debate was over Blevins Road in District 2.

The Blevinses say that the county owns the road and the Fullers say it’s private.

“This road has always been treated as public,” said Keith Blevins, who said he has lived there since 1962.

Blevins said the county has always maintained the road.

To back his argument, he said that during the 1980s, when a culvert washed away, the county replaced it and paved the road.

Maintenance

Robert E. Fuller said he purchased property on the road from the state in 1984 and that the county did not maintain the road.

He said Gene Blevins, owner of the Blevins property, told him that the road belonged to him.

Fuller said that in 1988 he bought pipe and the county took it and placed it in a ditch.

“The county took my pipe and put it on private property and then turned around and took 30 feet of my property,” said Fuller.

Fuller and his wife, Lois, said they are trying to sell their property on Blevins Road, but they cannot if the road is public.

County Engineer Greg Bodley said the road has been maintained by the county for 20 years.

He said the county does not have a deed for the right of way but that’s common for most county roads.

Bodley explained that as areas became populated years ago and roads were built, the county began maintaining them.

Today, state law prohibits government work on private property.

Right of way

Bodley said the county is not trying to take Fuller’s land and explained that the county has a minimum requirement of 60 feet of right of way for subdividing land. He said Fuller doesn’t have a problem.

Gene Blevins said that in the 1960s he paid to have the road built to Alabama 67.

After that, he said the county paved it and has maintained it since, bush-hogging ditches and fixing potholes.

A preacher also testified about the road being public.

Martha Hardin said the church of which she is pastor has been there since 1993 and the county has maintained the road. She asked the commission to keep it as a county road.

Fuller said he is not trying to keep anybody from having access to the road, including church members.

After hearing debate between the two families, the commission approved keeping the road public.

“I’ll see y’all in court,” Fuller told the commission.

Also, on his way out, Fuller questioned Hardin’s religion. “And, you, you’re supposed to be a preacher?” Fuller asked Hardin in the hallway.

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