Standoff continues in struggle over county road

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Despite a public appeal by residents Tuesday, Lee County supervisors won’t take responsibility for roads in Sunny Meadows subdivision.
But homeowners there remain undeterred.
“We’re not giving up,” said Barbara Black, who purchased property in the subdivision with verbal assurances its gravel drives would one day be paved on the county’s dime.
“We’ll be at every meeting,” Black said afterward. “They’ve got that power, and they’re holding it over us.”
Black was joined by a half dozen other residents at the Lee County Board of Supervisors meeting. All wanted the county to adopt their two short drives and maintain them.
But District 1 Supervisor Phil Morgan, in whose jurisdiction Sunny Meadows resides, refused to budge on his response to the homeowners: No.
Morgan cited a 2002 letter to the one of the subdivision’s two developers, Dean Webb, outlining the four requirements for the county to take in a road:
n At least three homes on the road must be occupied;
n All property owners adjoining the road must sign a petition, and at least 10 registered voters must be among the signers;
n The road must meet county specifications;
n The Board of Supervisors must approve the road – and it’s at the board’s “sole discretion” to do so.
Residents of Sunny Meadows have accomplished the first two tasks, but not the second two. And until they do so, he refuses to consider the request. Because it’s in his district, only he can recommend the road to the full board.
Morgan said nothing to the residents during the meeting, but he told the Daily Journal that he considers them victims of an unscrupulous developer.
Webb said on Monday that Morgan had assured him the county would take the roads as long as three homes were occupied. It happened with one of Webb’s subdivisions before Sunny Meadows and with one afterward. Neither had roads meeting county specifications.
When asked why he accepted those roads but not Sunny Meadows’s, Morgan said residents in the other subdivisions had started their application process earlier and therefore got grandfathered in.
The developers, not the county, Morgan said, should bring the roads up to specifications.
But Webb said neither he nor his partner, Sid Kirksey, own the roads anymore; the homeowners do. And homeowners said they shouldn’t bear the burden of improving a road they thought the county would take.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.