The transfer of a tiny section of road to public ownership could have significant flow-on effects for the Murray Bridge suburb of Riverglades.
Councillors voted on Tuesday night to accept a deal proposed by the Hodgen family, who own the dead-end section of Derwent Avenue.
The road section will be freely gifted to the council on the condition that it be sealed and maintained.
Anthony Hodgen had approached the council on the basis that his family was unable to maintain the road, which was susceptible to erosion every time it rained.
But councillors also noted the potential for 10 more houses to be built on adjoining land if access were opened up.
Derwent Avenue was originally intended to lead to the second stage of a residential development when the area was subdivided in the 1980s, according to a council report.
But the second stage was never built, so the road remained in private hands.
In accepting the deal, councillors went against the advice of staff, who warned that a similar situation existed on many private easements around the district.
Building and maintaining such roads was usually the responsibility of a developer, they said.
But a majority of councillors agreed with Mr Hodgen that the residents were not in a financial position to get the job done.
Instead, ratepayers will foot the $7000 bill for surveying and land division fees, and the considerably higher cost – up to $100,000 – of repairing and sealing the road.
At the council's meeting, Cr Theo Weinmann said accepting the deal would correct a 30-year-old planning mistake.
The deal was approved with a 5-4 vote.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that a proposal by Cr Fred Toogood to seal the road had not won councillors’ approval.