Monroe County commissioners declared victory in the long-simmering Monroe-Bibb county line fight last Tuesday as they approved a new subdivision in the disputed area.
“I just want to make clear that Monroe County takes the position that the Scarborough line is the county line,” county attorney Ben Vaughn said. “That is the only county line that has ever been commissioned by a government-appointed surveyor, so that is the only county line that exists. So the 2008 tax map line that is shown on there is irrelevant in my opinion.”
District 4 commissioner George Emami then went even further, proposing that Monroe County send tax bills to all properties in the territory considered Monroe County’s under the Scarborough line. Emami said if residents start receiving tax bills from both Bibb and Monroe counties, it might force secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, who’s been in office for two years, to settle the matter. However commissioners didn’t act on Emami’s proposal.
The issue came to fore as Monroe County commissioners unanimously approved on Oct. 6 a preliminary plat for Burchwood Plantation, a new subdivision planned off of Zebulon Road along the Monroe/Bibb County line. The homes will go for $350,000 and up.
Dan Wallace of Macon-based Triple Point Engineering, Inc. asked commissioners to approve a preliminary plat for Burchwood Plantation on behalf of the developer, Clint Ward of Ward and Shaker in Macon. Wallace’s preliminary plat showed six of the 21 lots are located in Monroe County according to the Bibb/Monroe boundary used on the 2008 tax map. However, if the Bibb/Monroe boundary line identified by surveyor Terry Scarborough in 2009 (and later put into the state record by an administrative line) is used, then about 15 lots would be located in Monroe County. Wallace said Bibb County had already approved the preliminary plat for the project using the 2008 tax map boundary.
District 3 commissioner John Ambrose said he didn’t know if commissioners should rule on the preliminary plat until Raffensperger establishes a definitive county line. However, Wallace told Commissioners that construction plans for Burchwood Plantation had originally been submitted for commission review in 2008 prior to the real estate crisis and also prior to Scarborough’s survey. Wallace said the preliminary plat was being re-submitted for approval because of some changes to the lots.
After about 15 minutes of discussion, District 1 commissioner Larry Evans motioned to approve the preliminary plat for Burchwood Plantation with as many lots as are located in Monroe County according to the Scarborough line.
Evans said, “Mr. Scarborough did a tremendous amount of historical research, and he determined where that line is, the Scarborough line. . . It went to the court system. There was a mediator involved. The mediator sided with Monroe County. Then it went to the Fulton County court. Judge Lee up there, she sided with Monroe County. And we’ve had three Secretary of States that have refused to make a ruling. There’s no place lawfully that we’ve seen where a new governor can come in and just say, ‘I’m gonna start all over again.’ In other words, this is going to be the line. This is it. This has cost us a considerable amount of money, and we should go ahead and go with the Scarborough line.”
Commissioners then voted 5-0 to approve Evans’ motion.
Some of the information in this story is courtesy of Monroe County public information officer Richard Dumas.