County to discuss trucking ordinance

Published 12:05 am Sunday, October 1, 2017

NATCHEZ — Adams County Supervisors are scheduled Monday to host a public hearing on truckers potentially being required to post bonds on county roads they potentially may damage.

Adams County Board Attorney Scott Slover said this impacts the timber and oil exploration industries, but also truckers who are parking their fully loaded trucks at their residences.

Supervisors for a couple months have brought up an issue about drivers of 18-wheelers driving fully loaded trucks on county roads not designed for such weight. The truckers are bringing the loads to their residences to not park in a public space, where they worry a theft could occur.

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Supervisors said damage is being done to the neighborhood roads.

Additionally, Supervisors have cited roads such as Carmel Church Road as examples for why the county needs protection from oil and timber. Carmel Church Road was practically turned back to gravel after the last wave from the oil industry, supervisors said.

The board also does not want to hamper industry, Slover said, so he hopes people with experience in one of the fields shows up to share ideas.

“Oil and timber are vital to our community,” Slover said. “But we also need to protect our roads.

“We just want to brainstorm at the hearing to make sure we get an ordinance that protects the road but also allows them to do their trade, which is real important to us.”

Board President Mike Lazarus said the county has to be careful to not impede people trying to make a living. He also added the county does get tax revenue from the timber and oil and gas trades.

“I think it will be a good discussion,” Lazarus said. “I know several people from the timber industry will be there Monday.

“One of the things I think you will hear from them is instead of getting a bond, just get a permit.”

Lazarus said with a permit, they could take pictures of the road before they start logging, and after the logging, the county could see what damage was caused, if any.

Though it is up to the other supervisors, Lazarus said he did not anticipate the board taking action on the ordinance Monday.

“We need to take time to see what (the professionals’) recommendations are,” Lazarus said. “We need to take time, digest it and make it something that is going to work. We don’t want to have to do this over and over again — we want to do it one time and get it right.”

On the issue of heavy loads being stored at residences, Slover said the county is considering designating certain roads as neighborhood roads, Neighborhood roads would not allow heavy trucks, with the exception of garbage trucks, school buses and emergency exception.

Lazarus said he hopes to hear from the truckers parking at their residences, too.

“The more input you get from the public, the better,” Lazarus said. “A lot of people don’t want the big trucks in residential areas, they just don’t.

“But at the same time, you have got people who own trucks who say when they park elsewhere diesel and batteries are being stolen. Plus they are hauling these loads that cost a lot of money and if something happened, they would be liable.”

Lazarus said the county would take suggestions and one idea is potentially building a secure area for trucks to park at night.

“I think it will be a good discussion Monday,” he said. “That’s what this is all about, is taking suggestions and seeing how we can work it out.”