By Madeline Sewell
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
ST. JOHNS — On Nov. 9 the St. Johns City Commission took the first steps in agreeing to make Galaxy Way a public road.
Galaxy Way is a recent development that was until this month considered a private road.
The commissioners did this by adopting the Galaxy Way – Initiatory Resolution.
The resolution “recommend[ed] that the city commission adopt the Resolution Supporting the Formation of a Special Assessment District to Make Public Right-of-Way Improvements to Galaxy Way Drive,” said the City of St. Johns City Commission Meeting Proposed Agenda.
The city attorney, John Salemi, said by taking steps to make Galaxy Way a public road the city would be able to make improvements to the street.
Dennis LaForest, the city manager, said, “we’ve made a couple trips out there [to Galaxy Way].”
“There are a couple things that, now that we have control of it, that we’re going to take care of. One of them is a raised manhole that’s going to be an issue this winter,” said LaForest.
“We would like to do something to lower the manhole so we don’t hit it with a [snow]plow,” said LaForest.
There have been some concerns from residents about this change but Mayor Dana Beaman said, “just because we’ve passed this resolution doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a done deal.”
“It just directs the City Manager to prepare a plan of improvement and report back to the City Commissions,” said Salemi.
If residents would like to hear more or express their concerns, they can do so once a plan of improvement has been constructed.
Public right-of-way is “the area on, below or above a public roadway, highway, street, alley, easement or waterway. Public Right-of-Way does not include a federal, state or private Right-of-Way,” said the Local Community Stabilization Authority.
According to the Stabilization Authority, public right-of-way covers trees, dust control, street lights, snow removal, unimproved areas, sidewalks/bike paths, noncommercial telecom facilities, signage, and equipment purchases.
According to the County Technical Assistance Service, “a private road may be one used by only one or a few property owners … or it may be a road which the landowner allows the general public to use but which has never been formally accepted by the county legislative body as a county road.”
“A public highway or road is such a passageway as any and all members of the public have an absolute right to use,” said the Technical Assistance Service.
The city would be able to exercise supervision over the construction, repair and maintenance of public roads, said the Technical Assistance Service.