GATE CITY — After many months of discussion on the topic, the Scott County Board of Supervisors on Thursday passed a resolution to abandon a portion of Route 660 at the request of Sheriff John Puckett, who owns property on the road.
The segment to be abandoned is from River Bluff Road to the edge of Puckett’s property. The sheriff requested the abandonment because of issues he’s experienced with people coming onto his property without permission.
“I’m not against people using my property, but if you look at that part of it, there are liabilities. If somebody comes over there on four-wheelers and horses or whatever it may be and get hurt, who are they going to sue?” he said. “That’s part of it, and some of it is people demanding that they’re going to go through my property, and someone comes through there and leaves their beer cans every 50 yards. What I’d like to do is I could make a decision if they’re not doing what’s right to keep them off the property.”
A public hearing was held during Thursday’s BOS meeting to discuss the issue. The board received one letter of opposition to the proposal from Milton Starnes, who also owns property in the area. In the letter, he asserts that abandoning that section of road would hurt property values.
“This not only negatively impacts my property, but also that of all other property owners in the area,” Starnes wrote. “There is no advantage to this county or its residents by taking this action.”
Puckett argued that neither Starnes nor any other property owners or travelers would be affected, as there are other routes to get in and out of the area. Puckett added that the road is not recommended by VDOT for standard vehicle travel regardless, due to its condition.
BOS member David Redwine said his only concern with abandoning roads is that “we don’t land-lock anybody.” He added, “Nobody here wants to hurt the value of Mr. Starnes’ property, and we do want to make sure he has access, but our action today I don’t think will damage that.”
BOS Chairman Danny Mann agreed.
“I do have concern for him (Starnes), but I believe right now my concern is more with Mr. Puckett and his rights to his property and the fact that I don’t think it’s going to affect anybody negatively by closing that section of road.”