County says it won't take on roads in neighborhoods

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By Jenny Hartley

Lancaster County Council is keeping the status quo when it comes to accepting new roads in subdivisions – it won't.

Council took a vote at its July 7 meeting on whether to accept new roads from the BridgeMill and Glen Laurel subdivisions in Indian Land. Accepting the roads would mean the county would be responsible for maintaining them.

County road engineer Jeff Catoe said the roads in BridgeMill are quality roads built to county standards. But the county doesn't have the money to maintain them, he said.

County Administrator Steve Willis said the county has not accepted any new roads into the county maintenance system since 1998.

County maintenance mainly consists of patching potholes and scraping dirt roads when needed, not repaving existing roads.

The idea of not accepting the roads into the county system was ludicrous to Councilman Bryan Vaughn, who represents Indian Land, where new subdivisions are sprouting up everywhere.

He said the residents of BridgeMill, Sun City Carolina Lakes and BridgeHampton are paying some of the highest taxes in the county, and that county road services should be funded by them. He said the county maintains roads with two houses on them, when it would be a lot less expensive per capita to maintain 5 to 6 miles of roads in BridgeMill, which has 750 homes.

"You're going to create a hailstorm like you've never seen," Vaughn said. "You can't take people's money and not provide county services."

Councilman Jack Es-tridge said the council would be "creating a monster" by accepting roads it can't afford to maintain.

The vote to accept the roads in BridgeMill into the county system was 3-4, with Vaughn and Councilmen Fred Thomas and Larry Honeycutt voting for it. Councilmen Rudy Carter, Wesley Grier, Wayne Kersey and Estridge voted against it.

Council members also discussed the Glen Laurel roads, which Catoe said were built to a lower standard. The roads have lots of patches and cracked curbs.

Accepting them into the county road system would be like "buying a used car," Catoe said.

"The whole thing could go to pieces tomorrow," he said.

The vote to accept the Glen Laurel roads was 2-5, with only Vaughn and Thomas voting to accept them.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803 283-1151