Greene County now has an updated ordinance detailing requirements to be met in any new construction of roads and bridges in the county.

The Quorum Court voted 9-0 to adopt County Ordinance 2020-09, which lays out specifications for road composition and dimensions by road designation (arterial, collector or local, depending on the average daily traffic count). Included was an emergency clause which made the ordinance effective immediately.

The ordinance, passed at the regularly scheduled July meeting last week, also establishes a six-step process for interested landowners to get a road built and dedicated to county maintenance.

The 15-page ordinance also lays responsibility of obtaining its requirements on those planning to build roads or subdivisions before they begin construction.

As previously reported, Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon had presented the draft of the ordinance to the June 15 meeting of the quorum court, saying at the time it could be subject to changes. But in presenting it for adoption, he acknowledged none had been made.

Before the vote to adopt it, McMillon entertained questions regarding various portions of the ordinance.

“What constitutes a violation?” asked District 2 Justice of the Peace Robby Glasgow.

“Not meeting the specifications,” McMillon answered. “We won’t accept a road that’s not in compliance.”

In response to a question from District 10 Justice of the Peace Jeremy Wooldridge, McMillon noted that current roads would not be found to be out of compliance. “This is to protect the future,” the judge said.

Penalty for noncompliance with the ordinance – or any other county ordinance – is specified in the Greene County Code of Ordinances to be a maximum of $500 for an individual occurrence. However, for a continuous violation (e.g. for a road being out of compliance with the ordinance), it is a maximum of $250 per day.

The Quorum Court may approve requests for variances from the specifications where adherence to them could create a hardship, “and where the County Judge feels that a departure may be made without destroying the intent of these regulations.”

As previously reported, many of the changes were to replace outdated terminology. One other change includes the use of average daily traffic count (ADT) to quantify road classification. Roads with ADT exceeding 1,000 in rural areas, and 4,000 in urbanizing areas, are arterial roads. Local roads, which McMillon said made up about 95 percent of the roads in the county, are those with ADT less than 200 vehicles.

Those in between (200-1,000 in rural and 1,000-4,000 in urbanizing) are collector roads, as are those directly connecting two arterial roads or two population clusters of at least 200 people, or which provide direct access to more than 110 residential dwelling units (or indirect access to more than 200 such units).

The difference among the three lies in the requirements for rights-of-way; widths of the crown, surface and shoulder; base thickness; maximum percent grade; minimum sighting distance and maximum permitted speed.

In other business, the Court voted 9-0 to adopt a resolution declaring its District 7 seat vacant. The resolution clears the way for Gov. Asa Hutchinson to appoint a justice to serve out the unexpired term of Barry Bateman, who has moved out of the district. Whoever is appointed is prohibited from running for election to the seat in the next general election.

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