Stolen road sign sparks debate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

WINTON – Apparently, someone has a taste for beer – as in Beer Garden Road signs.

Residents living on that particular road, located just on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, have taken note on more than one occasion that their road sign was missing. Not the pole; not the cement holding the pole; just the sign.

That situation was presented to the Hertford County Board of Commissioners earlier this week, sparking a debate on a possible solution.

&uot;We have a problem, almost on a monthly basis, keeping that sign on the pole,&uot; said Rose Stephenson, the county’s Rural Addressing Director. &uot;It’s costing the county right at $100 each time it has to be replaced.&uot;

Stephenson replied negatively when asked if any other road signs in the county were suffering the same fate.

She felt certain that those involved in taking the signs were doing so in regards to the road’s unique name. To that assumption, Stephenson suggested changing the name of the road.

&uot;I would like to have your permission to talk with those living on Beer Garden Road to see how they would feel about a name change,&uot; she inquired of the Commissioners.

However, Board Chairman Johnnie Ray Farmer said soliciting a new name may lead to additional problems.

&uot;You may go there and come up with a lot of different names,&uot; stated Farmer. &uot;You’ll get people saying they want the road named after their family members because they feel they were the first ones to settle on that road. What you need to do is informed the citizens living on Beer Garden Road that if they can’t agree on one name, then the Commissioners are within their right to name it.&uot;

&uot;This is a problem that we need to address due to the simple fact that it will save us money in having the continuously replace the sign and the pole,&uot; noted Commissioner DuPont Davis.

Vice-Chairman Vernice Howard pointed out another scenario when she brought up the current county policy on naming roads. That policy, in brief, states that a petition, signed by at least 80 percent of the landowners on the road, must be presented to the Rural Addressing Office no later than July 15 of each year in order for the petition to be considered by the Commissioners during a public hearing at their second scheduled meeting each October. If the petition is approved, it becomes the financial burden of the property owners on the road to pay $100 for each new sign, a price that includes the pole and cement.

Howard questioned if this policy would apply to those landowners in this particular situation, given the fact that the possible name change wasn’t acted upon through a petition by the property owners, but rather in regards to an act of vandalism and/or theft.

To that inquiry, County Attorney Chuck Revelle said that a simple amendment to the current policy would waive the responsibility of the landowners in bearing the costs.

&uot;If the Board was to see a particular problem with a road name that is of no fault to those owning property on that road, then the county policy can be amended to reflect there is a problem that the county needs to address,&uot; said Revelle.

He continued, &uot;Commissioner Howard is correct. The policy must first be amended prior to Mrs. Stephenson being allowed to go to that community and soliciting ideas about a road name change.&uot;

County Manager Don Craft suggested to simply remove the word &uot;Beer&uot; from the road name, calling it Garden Road.

&uot;I really believe what we have in this situation is a Beer Garden Road sign hanging in a souvenir hunter’s room,&uot; suggested Craft.

A motion was made and seconded to amend the policy, which passed unanimously. Stephenson was then granted permission to discuss what options were available to those residing on Beer Garden Road concerning a possible name change.

If and when the road changes names, there will be no cost involved to those living in that area.