STARR, S.C. (WSPA) – An Anderson county community is fighting to keep using a busy roadway in Starr.
They found out recently Rhody Farm road was handed over to a private owner. But for such a short roadway, Starr drivers say the road has a long been a staple in their community.
“I’m almost 65 years old and it has been there as long as I can remember,” said Giles Earle, a Starr Native that helped start the Facebook Page Save Rhody Farm Road. “When school is going on, you can avoid all that school traffic.”
“It’s the convenience. It cuts off a couple of miles off your trip,” Gerald Gates added.
Many use it to avoid traffic jams on other roads and to cut through from Agnew Road to 81 to get to Anderson or Greenville faster.
That’s why last week end several people driving through the area were surprised to see these new private drive signs up.
“I think why people are so upset is that we had no idea this was happening,” Gates continued. “There are so many tax payers that use this road and we haven’t been able to express our views on it.”
SCDOT says the road sits between property owned by former Anderson County councilman Eddie Moore.
Recently they gave him approval to take over maintenance of the road from the state as his own private roadway. They say he requested the change in May with concerns to protect his property and stop litter.
People aren’t happy about it.
“I have litter in front of my house and I get out there every week and pick it up,” Earle explained. “That is nothing that nobody else doesn’t have to deal with.”
Drivers are filling up petitions with signatures at convenience stores in the area. They want it kept open to the public.
They’ve also gotten newly elected councilman Ray Graham, who lives in the area, to help.
“He got right on it and he has been instrumental in getting it stopped,” said Earle.
Graham ran against Moore in recent runoff elections. He’s teamed up with Senator Mike Gambrell to address the problem.
For now, SCDOT says the road is still passable while Moore and state officials figure out how to do what’s best for everyone involved.
Residents hope their efforts will keep it that way.
“It is a small road but it is a road that is very important to us and we hope we are heard on this,” Gates said.
We weren’t able to get in touch with Eddie Moore Wednesday. Senator Gambrell tells us the former councilman wants to find a solution.
The SCDOT says they have apologized to many residents complaining about the road changes. They say public meetings are not required in these kinds of cases, but Kevin McLaughlin says they should have done more leg work to avoid the situation.
They say they’ll be meeting with Eddie Moore soon to discuss options on how to move forward.