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This week's Herald


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The Dry Pond Road/Holly Springs Road exit sign was changed over to number 140 this week as the Georgia Department of Transportation worked to renumber the exits along I-85. The DOT is renumbering interstate exits throughout Georgia to a mile log system from the current number system.
Photo by Travis Hatfield


DOT changes I-85 exit signs
The Georgia Department of Transportation will finish renumbering the exits along I-85 next week, including those in Jackson County.
The DOT is renumbering interstate exits throughout Georgia to a mile log system from the current number system. The entire project is expected to be completed by July.
All signs will be changed for an exit before moving to the next exit, DOT officials report. There are not expected to be any lane closures associated with the work. No work will occur on weekends.
While changing the exit numbers, all interstate signs and milepost markers will be upgraded to high-visibility reflective sheeting and "breakaway" posts that will flex when hit by a vehicle.
The I-85 exits in Jackson County are being reunumbered as follows: Exit 49 to exit 129; exit 50 to exit 137; exit 51 to exit 140; exit 52 to exit 147; and exit 53 (Banks Crossing) to exit 149.

Cell tower companies battle for locations
Three new cell phone towers got approval from the Jackson County Planning Commission last week, but two others were denied following opposition from nearby property owners.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will take action on all of the requests when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Administrative Building in Jefferson. A "work session" to discuss the requests will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The planning commission recommended approval for Nextel Communications to locate towers at 129 J.T. Elrod Road and 1649 Wheeler Cemetery Road. The planning board also approved a request from SBA Communication to locate a tower at 635 Potter House Road.
But the board recommended denial Nextel to locate towers at 503 Hope Haven Road and 1806 Commerce Road.
The request for a tower on Hope Haven Road was denied after former planning commission member Gary Black, whose family owns nearby property, spoke in opposition to the plans. He said that if his family develops a subdivision on the property, the cell tower would be in its view and would devalue the land.
Chairman Keith Hayes asked if the tower could be moved to another location on the 85 acres. Nextel representatives said it could not without the property owner being consulted.
The request for Commerce Road was denied after adjacent property owner Don Segraves, a former director of the planning commission, spoke on the impact it would have on the 23 families who live nearby.
"I just don't believe it is right to put a tower in with 23 houses around it," he said. "It will impact the value of residential property and there is a lot of residential property in the area."
Telecommunication specialist George Cohn, Savannah, spoke on behalf of Nextel and outlined the company's plans to expand into the area. He said the towers planned for Jackson County are part of the company's effort to launch into the Atlanta area market. They currently have only one tower in the county.
Although the board approved the tower request for J.T. Elrod Road, nearby property owner Martha Nelms spoke in opposition. She said that tower would devalue her property. She added that if her sons build homes on her property, the tower would be in their view.
"I don't want it beside of my property where it could cause problems on down the road," she said.
Henry Puckett, who owns the property where the tower would locate, said it would not be visible from anyone's property.
"You say it's an eyesore," he said. "That's someone's opinion. I might think a subdivision is an eyesore."
The request from SBA Communic-ation for a tower on Potter's House Road split the planning commission. Member Faye Griffin first made a motion that it be denied. It was seconded, but no one else voted to deny the request. A motion was then made to approve it and it passed.
There was some discussion as to why SBA and Nextel don't plan to co-locate on a tower in this area. The Potter's House site is close to the J.T. Elrod Road site where Nextel is proposing a tower be located.
"It seems like everyone says they want to co-locate, and then they build their own," Hayes said.

Water authority terms may change with Madden bill
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners offered its support Thursday to a piece of legislation that would allow members of the county water and sewerage authority to serve more than three consecutive terms.
Sen. Eddie Madden plans to introduce the legislation, which was requested by county officials in an effort to allow water and sewerage authority chairman Alex Bryan to serve another term. Bryan is serving his third term.
At the called BOC meeting Thursday, the commissioners said Bryan has background and knowledge that will be needed as the county moves into offering sewer service. The authority will also be moving forward with numerous water projects due to the recent approval of a five-year special purpose local option sales tax.

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