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Oconee: No Agreement on Mars Hill Median Cut

Oconee County officials now say that the county does not have a written agreement to build a full median cut on Mars Hill Road to provide access to property owned by Dickens Farms Inc.

The officials also say that, prior to its meeting on Tuesday night, the Board of Commissioners had never voted to support that full median cut or to ask the Georgia Department of Transportation to modify its design for the road to include the full median cut.

The statement by County Clerk Jane Greathouse on Wednesday, copied to the commissioners and other officials, contrasts with what Commissioner Jim Luke said on Tuesday, when he stated that the commissioners had agreed to the full median cut and that he felt the county was obligated to Dickens and others to honor that agreement.

An examination of county document shows that what the county does have is a Final Title Certificate signed by Doug Dickens, president of Dickens Farms Inc.

As part of that document, Dickens accepted $32,000—more than twice the amount the state initially offered—as payment for easements he granted and to pay that same amount to the county in return for a partial median cut.

Even without a written agreement or a prior vote on the full median cut, the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night voted to spend $5,000 for design work already completed for a full median cut and another $5,000 for a “design exception/design variance package” to make the case with the state for the full median cut.

County Public Works Director Emil Beshara told the Board and the public at that meeting that the county will have to spend an additional $23,000 in construction costs if GDOT allows the full median cut on the roadway now under construction.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.