Efforts to close a section of Bluff Landing Road, which leads to a boat landing to the Savannah River, are currently underway.
The Audubon Society in Jackson is filing a Summons and Complaint in Aiken County to close a portion of that road from the intersection of Silver Bluff Road and Bluff Landing Road to the Savannah River. There have been attempts to close the road before, and though the Audubon Society is regretful to make such a request, the organization finds it necessary.
According to Jackson's Audubon Society President Paul Koehler, a lot of illegal activity is occurring at that site such as car break-ins, underage drinking and the shooting of guns or fireworks.
“Because of all of, we're concerned about the safety of all the visitors here, which includes thousands of school children,” Koehler said.
Koehler said that there's also issues with littering and people disturbing an archeology project in the vicinity of the road. Approximately 140 acres near that portion of the road is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property of George Galphin, an 18th-century businessman, is on that land.
A few months ago, Aiken County Council voted to not object to the closure of that portion of the road. That specific boat landing does not belong to the County as it's on Audubon's property.
Koehler said he knows there are many people who do enjoy the boat landing but he said there's another boat landing, which belongs to the County, on Landing Road not too far from the one that will potentially be closed.
Assistant County Administrator Brian Sanders added there are plans to further improve that boat landing.
Resident Tom Ellis is not happy with this most recent news. Ellis lives on another section of Bluff Landing and said there's “very minimal crime” occurring at that site. He said most of the issues come from some of the younger residents visiting the boat landing. If they were cited for any illegal activity or there was someone to patrol the area, he said, any criminal activity would cease.
“You give them a heavy ticket or two, they're going to stop,” Ellis said. “Most of those problems would be solved with some law enforcement.”
With Sheriff's deputies constantly responding to calls throughout Aiken County, it's difficult to designate someone to patrol that particular road, Killian said. He said he knows that when deputies are driving through, they do make an effort to check out that location.
Ellis said he just doesn't think closing that portion of the road is right, especially since it's been around for so long and it's something the community really enjoys.
A legal advertisement has run twice in the Aiken Standard and once it runs again on Thursday, the complaint will be filed and reviewed by the County Master-in-Equity.
Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard. and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is a native of Rustburg, Va. and a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College.