By Heather Mullinix
Drivers on Deer Creek Dr. will need to watch their speed after the Cumberland County Commission voted Monday to set the speed limit for the road at 25 mph.
And while members of the commission voted in favor of the residents' request, they questioned how other such requests would be handled by the county.
"Is this is going to be something that we're going to get in other areas?" asked Sonya Rimmer, 8th District commissioner. "We haven't done this on any other road. Personally, I'd like this on my road. They wreck in my front yard on a regular basis, but are we going to address that?"
Jeff Brown, 8th District commissioner, noted the environmental committee voted to support the Deer Creek Dr. request. The Cumberland County Road Department will pay for the cost of signs.
"This is kind of a no-brainer," Brown said of the Deer Creek Dr. request, with about 90 percent of the road within the city limits of Crossville. "There's not but a few hundred yards that's a county road, so it's causing a lot of problems for police."
Tennessee law states county legislative bodies may set lower speed limits for any road being maintained by the county. The county must post appropriate signs and traffic signals when it does so.
Brown said the committee had decided to consider speed limit requests when a reasonable number of residents on the road request such action.
"But we also think it's the road superintendent's final call," Brown said. "As it stands right now, they can request it of him. If he recommends it to the environmental committee, then yes, we will change the speed limit on that road.
"We'll have to see how it goes. If it causes a financial problem for Scott [Blaylock, county road superintendent], we'll have to address it."
Larry Allen, 6th District commissioner, said he'd like to see guidelines on speed limit requests. Brown said the committee had talked to the county's regional planning commission and planned to work with them but, "We're going to have to develop them as we go."
The planning committee has access to the state planner and they and the road superintendent have the expertise needed for such requests, such as where signs need to be placed or determining appropriate speed.
He continued, "Frankly, it's something we've put off for years and we're going to have to address."
There was also concern only Deer Creek Dr. was included in the resolution, though the subdivision does include other county roads. Carmen Lynch, 9th District commissioner, recalled the committee approved setting the speed limit for all county roads in Deer Creek subdivision, but those other roads were not included.
Brown said, "No one else in the county requested a speed limit change."
On county roads with no posted speed limit, state law sets the speed limit at 55 miles per hour, county attorney Randol Boston noted.
"That's a danger on some of these rural roads," Boston said.
Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner, said, "There's about five other county roads in Deer Creek I can think of. If we leave these roads out, we'll be right back."
Allen agreed the motion should include all county roads in Deer Creek.
Brown said, "Then we're talking out of both sides of our mouth. We're saying we don't want to do it if nobdy asks for it, but no one asked for the other roads. Which do we want to do?"
Allen Foster, 4th District commissioner, moved to approve setting the speed limit on Deer Creek Rd. at 25 mph for the portion that is a county road. Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner, supported the motion. During discussion of a friendly amendment to include all county roads in the Deer Creek subdivision, Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner, said the motion could be illegal if the actual road names are not included. With that in mind, Foster said he would not agree to an amendment of his motion.
The motion passed with Allen, Harvel, 7th District Commissioner Roy Turner and John Kinnunen, 9th District commissioner, voting no. Voting in favor were Sabine, Hyder, 2nd District Commissioner Caroline Knight, 3rd District Commissioners David Hassler and Johnny Presley, Foster, 4th District Commissioner Charles Seiber, 5th District Commissioners Joe Koester and Jan McNeil, 6th District Commissioner Terry Carter, Brown, Rimmer and Lynch. Brian Houston, 1st District commissioner, did not attend the meeting.