A lawsuit claiming that Elbert County should not have approved a developer’s amended plan for County Road 178 can continue to go forward in court, a judge ruled on Feb. 4.
Elbert County District Court Judge Gary M. Kramer rejected the county’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. The suit was initially filed in July 2021 by four people who live in the area of the Delbert Road/County Road 178 intersection.
The lawsuit is part of a long-fought battle by community members who are dissatisfied with Elbert County leadership and the developer of the Spring Valley Ranch subdivision over the project’s roads.
The plaintiffs argue that the amended design for the road is inconsistent with county regulations and traffic laws, making the road extremely unsafe for drivers.
The plaintiffs demanded the following issues be resolved:
1. Posted speed and design speed
2. Intersection spacing
3. Acceleration and deceleration lanes
4. Entering sight distance
5. Decision sight distance
6. Shoulder widths and surface
7. Shoulder slope
8. Culvert size
9. Traffic analysis report
Judge Kramer’s Feb. 4 decision came two days after a hearing on Elbert County’s motion to dismiss the complaint.
The county argued that no legally protected rights were violated due to CR 178 road construction. They also argued that the court could not require the commissioners to make changes to the approved plan.
At the hearing, plaintiffs Christopher Hatton and Kahl Forington claimed that their property had suffered damage as a result of road construction. Hatton claimed his property had experienced land erosion and flooding due to the road grading not allowing for proper drainage.
In his Feb. 4 ruling, Kramer determined that the plaintiffs may be suffering harm to their legally protected rights as a result of allegedly non-compliant road construction.
The lawsuit will move forward. Depending on the facts of the case (e.g., harm suffered and road compliance), the court might order Elbert County and the Board of County Commissioners to change the permits or modify the road.
According to Elbert County Road & Bridge, County Road 178 was complete as of Dec. 31. A list of item corrections has been provided to the construction contractor. As soon as the corrections are made, acceptance of the roads will commence and the roadways will be open to the public.
To read the July 11, 2021 article on the initial filing, visit tinyurl.com/ECNCR178.