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Closing collection site causes concern
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The recent closing of a convenience center on Highway 8 has some residents on the mountain wanting their accessibility back.
Kim Barrett, who lives in the Overton Retreat community off Highway 8, came before county Health and Welfare Committee members Michael Martin, Teddy Boyd, Tommy Savage and Blaine Wilcher on Tuesday to express concerns about the closure.
 “I kind of represent the homeowners up there, as well as the development partners,” said Barrett. “I guess we were all taken aback when we found out that center would be closing. It is more than a convenience to our homeowners. This creates a particular problem for our community because of the way it is used.”
Overton Retreat has some homeowners who only visit on weekends. Barrett says they stay until Sunday, drop their trash off at the center and return to their other residence.
“Many of our homeowners are weekenders,” he said. “They tend to come up and go back on Sunday. It looks like we will have no place for them to drop trash off, because I know your other convenience locations are closed on Sunday.”
All the county’s convenience centers are closed Sundays. However, residents in the area of Highway 8 have literally figured out a way around that, says Barrett.
“We have been able to use this site on Sunday because someone in their infinite wisdom left a gap about this wide and we crawl under it,” he said. “I’ve been doing that for eight years. I don’t mind it a bit. It doesn’t seem to create a problem in the lot or yard. I might be wrong about that. Even though it was closed, we had access to it.”
The convenience center closure was required after the property owner informed the county he needed his land back and gave the county until Jan. 13 to move. Savage says the property owner was “overly gracious” in allowing use of his property and attempts to find another location in the area failed.
“We have diligently searched every small tract we can find in that area,” Savage said. “We can’t find anyone who wants to sell. Tracts are hard to find and people who do have them want to use them for residential. Another thing, a lot of people don’t want to put a convenience center there because they are afraid it will damage the value of their property. I do understand it is a hindrance.”
Barrett questioned if the county would allow Fairview to be accessed on Sundays with a gap in the fence, much the same way as Highway 8.
“Is there a possibility that in the closest convenience spot for us, and we think that would be Fairview, an opening could be created to be used on Sundays?” he asked. “I know that’s out of the ordinary and maybe there are liability issues I’m not aware of. Has us going through that gate on Sundays on Highway 8 created any problems?”
Sanitation Department director Steve Hillis says the center in Fairview is secluded and allowing unrestricted access would create a problem.
“It’s in a back, remote area and there’s nobody there to really watch it when we are not there,” said Hillis.
Barrett suggested opening the center for a few hours on Sunday. Hillis says opening one center on Sunday would create discontent in the community.
“That would open up a can of worms all across the county if we did,” he said. “If you do it for one, you have to it for everybody. I learned that a long time ago. If you do it at one, you have to do it at all of them to be fair about it.”
The discussion ended without any resolution for residents in the area of Highway 8.