In 2010 following requests by association and neighborhood interests, the legislature amended the language of O.C.G.A. Section 32-7-2 via Senate Bill 354, 2010 Ga. Laws 443. Section 32-7-2 contains the standard that governs the power of Georgia counties and cities to abandon county roads and city streets. Before 2010, the language of the statute required that a local government show that the a street or road had "ceased to be used by the public to the extent that no substantial public purpose [was] served" by it. In Senate Bill 354, the legislature added " after the former language.
The addition of the added language to Section 32-7-2 increased the power of local government to abandon streets and roads over the objections of property owners and members of the public using the streets. This expansion of power was acknowledged by the Georgia Supreme Court in the opinion in Scarborough v. Hunter, 288 Ga. 687, 706 S.E.2d 650 (2011). In Scarborough, supra, the court overruled a prior decision in Cherokee County v. McBride, 262 Ga. 460, 421 S.E.2d 530 and held that a trial court lacked authority to prevent a government from holding a public hearing regarding road abandonment.
Notwithstanding the modification of Section 32-7-2, certain property owners using public roads and streets may still have private easement rights that are not extinguished by the abandonment.
Northpark Associates No. 2, Ltd. v. Homart Dev. Co., 262 Ga. 138, 414 S.E.2d 214 (1992) ("closing of abandoned portions of subdivision roads and their relocation did not eliminate purchaser's easement rights in subdivision roads delineated on recorded subdivision plat").
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