The disappearance of a sign at the entrance of Mallard Village and concerns over a barrier wall along Veterans Parkway were enough for residents to address the Hinesville City Council last Thursday.
Arthur Nixon was the spokesperson for the residents of Mallard Village, located off of Veterans Parkway, many of whom also attended.
Nixon said he wanted to "raise awareness as to how business was conducted" with the road improvements along Veterans Parkway.
The entrance sign to Mallard Village that featured a flying mallard duck and installed on an island, was torn down and taken away, Nixon said. The community does not know where the sign is and wanted to know if it will be returned or replaced. Neighbors feel that without the sign no one will be able to find their subdivision.
"There was an issue of the sign coming down because it was in the right-of-way but there’s no such fact to prove that it was in the right-of-way. So why did it come down and where is the sign right now?" Nixon asked.
Neighbor Isidoro Morin said his daughter originally painted the sign and they want it returned.
Councilman Keith Jenkins asked Nixon if someone was notified about the sign coming down. Nixon did not know.
Douglas Harris, watch captain of the subdivision and who has lived there since 1988, said he was approached about moving the sign.
"I was approached about moving the sign but I told them we didn’t have a machine or anything to lift it," Harris said. "I don’t know who moved it."
Paul Simonton, of P.C. Simonton and Associates, addressed the residents’ concerns.
The sign was in the city’s right-of-way, Simonton said, so city workers took it down.
"When we got to doing the work out there, we contacted Mr. Harris and initially said we will try to get some people to do it," he said. "Public works department actually took the sign down because we’re under obligation from DOT to remove the sign because it couldn’t be there. We met with him and said we have to take it out and they concurred."
Nixon also talked about a barrier wall between Veterans Parkway and some residential homes along the road.
"The barrier that has been constructed, one of the neighbors described that as looking like a prison barrier, not an actual sound barrier," Nixon said. "Why didn’t that barrier cover the entire area, only went halfway?"
Nixon said a neighbor did research into how much Mallard Village residents were paying in property taxes and found that their property values have decreased by 15 percent, which he attributes to the barrier.
The contractor left construction supplies between the barrier and the fence of a residential home Morin said and Harris felt that the barrier did not decrease the noise.
Simonton then talked about the barrier.
Part of the development process of the road improvements was doing an environmental study, he said, which includes a noise study that assesses the noise before and after construction.
"The first study that was done said there needed to be a sound wall on both sides of the road. We had a public meeting and had pros and cons for sound walls. Some people felt there’s a safety issue with having a sound wall because people will get behind a sound wall and hide or do things and nobody on the road can see them," Simonton said.
Many were against having a sound barrier, Simonton said, and a later noise study showed that sound walls were not necessary. Since there was already a commitment to people at the village who wanted a wall, Simonton said the Georgia Department of Transportation allowed there to be a visual barrier, not a sound wall. GDOT only allows three types of walls and a concrete panel barrier was installed. Simonton said he would be glad to meet with residents and discuss what can be done.
Mayor Allen Brown told Nixon and the residents that the city will look into their concerns and contact them.