Residents in a 13-home residential subdivision in unincorporated Ellis County have petitioned the county to consider paving of streets within the neighborhood.

Ty Wilson, a resident of the subdivision north of Hays and a representative of the homeowners association, said the current sand roads require constant maintenance and pose possible safety hazards for the families who regularly drive them.

“To begin with, within the addition there have been three different traffic-related incidents in the last four months,” Wilson said, outlining reports of the three accidents. “Please understand I’m not saying these incidents are solely a result of the road conditions or design, but safety is becoming a concern for us.”

The roads within the subdivision are designated as county roads, carrying a default speed limit of 55 mph. Residents also have asked the county to consider lowering the speed limit, and commissioners were favorable to that request at Monday’s meeting.

Wilson said Monday was the homeowner’s first time presenting to the commission, and they are hoping to create an "open relationship" with county officials in addressing the problem. He also noted residents expect the subdivision to possibly grow in the future to 23 homes, which could enhance safety concerns.

The subdivision is located just north of Hays off of 270th Avenue. The petition was signed by all of the property owners within the neighborhood.

The subdivision’s roads total 1.53 miles. The county’s public works crews would not be able to do the work in-house, Public Works Administrator Bill Ring said, because the county does not have necessary equipment for hot-mix asphalt.

A preliminary price estimate from a local contractor — obtained for discussion purposes only — indicates the cost could be nearly $1 million for a 6-inch asphalt overlay. Given the high price tag, county commissioners said such a project could not be absorbed in this year’s budget.

Commissioners directed county staff to begin a process of lowering the speed limit within the subdivision, and said they would like to have a future discussion about other road repair measures that might not be as costly.

“If we had all the money in the world, it would be fine, let’s just do that. But we don’t,” Commissioner Barbara Wasinger said. “We’re already trying to figure how to fix what roads we have.”

The homeowners association also is willing to help pay for any project, as long as the cost is feasible to both parties, Wilson said.

“We understand that any road improvement is extremely costly,” he said. “We are prepared to share the financial burden, and we understand any improvement will take time to orchestrate.”