Debate centers around Section Line Road
Sequoyah County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jim Rogers had to calm down raised voices several times Monday during a hearing attended by opponents of a section line issue raised by a landowner from District 3.
Joe Adair, an attorney from Stilwell, representing his client, Dr. Eric Malaker, said his client wanted to open up a section line to gain him access to his property located off of 4660 Road, near State Highway 101.
Malaker, who said he had plans to build a retirement home on the property and use the land for hunting, told the commissioners he had first attempted to obtain easements from the nearby property owners. However, Adair said, that did not go over too well so Malaker was following the legal process in making his request.
“You open up section lines to allow access to property where there's no access,” Adair said.
Some of the people, who live along 4660 Road raised concerns about heavy traffic in the event of a development project while others who used the property surrounding the area for hunting said more traffic especially during a rainy season would make the roads become impassable. Other's had questions about funds to repair the road when the road needs some work presently.
“It's a dirt road,” said Roy Fine, a resident who said he owns 160 acres which adjoins Malaker's property, in the area Fine referred to as Sloan's Chapel Community.
“I have legitimate concerns about what opening up the section line and heavy traffic would do to our road when it already needs some work,”he said.
“This guy is from Ohio and we have heard he plans to open up some type of a hunting business which is going to generate a lot of traffic. This is a dirt road and when it rains, it gets bad and heavy traffic will make it worse.”
Fine said those were his concerns while some neighbors might be worried about sharing their hunting grounds or just allowing someone to trespass on their property.
Malaker said he had no plans to develop the area. Towards the end of the meeting, one person questioned if he might be interested in selling the property and Malaker said he might be.
After a lengthy discussion, debate and some name calling, the agenda item “Public hearing to consider the petition in the matter of request to designate portion of section lines open for public use, Sequoyah County District 3” was tabled.
District 1 Commissioner Ray Watts said Malaker could open up the section line but maintaining it would have to be from the owner's expense.