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May 31, 2000


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OPINIONS
Mike Buffington
Fire stations were done right

Here's a hint for county leaders working on a new courthouse, and for the Jefferson group working on a proposed civic center: Talk to...

Editorial
Planning board finally balancing development rights

Last week, the Jackson County Planning Commission considered the merits of two rezoning matters and voted to recommend approval of both in spite of a room full of opposition.


SPORTS
Carly Parr signs letter of intent with West Georgia
Remember the little pink bunny in the television commercial that just keeps going and going? Inside that pink suit is Carly Parr. With her prep track and cross country careers completed, Parr signed a letter...

Summertime recreation activities coming up
With Jackson County and Commerce City schools closing this week and Jefferson already done, area students are eagerly considering...


Neighborhood News...
MADISON COUNTY
County purchasing policy proposed
County officials say a proposed purchasing policy will lead to a more fiscally responsible government. The Madison County Board of Commissioners met briefly Tuesday night to review proposed guidelines...

MCHS tassels to be turned Friday
Two hundred seventeen Madison County seniors will begin a new chapter in life Friday.




News from
BANKS COUNTY
Sales tax from Banks Crossing up since new 'super center' opened
When the Wal-Mart 24-hour super center opened at Banks Crossing in March, county officials knew they could expect an increase in sales tax revenue...

Maysville poised to make water decision
Maysville should be able to approve Phase I of its water service plan as soon as the council's meeting Monday night. Mayor Richard Presley and council member...


 

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HONORING MEMORIAL DAY

Cub Scouts from Jefferson Pack 158 posted flags on the graves of veterans last week in Woodbine Cemetery. These boys are standing at the grave of Pvt. Crawford Stephens, who was killed in action in 1945 during World War II. Shown are (L to R) Blair Buffington, Austin Wilson, Elliott Wilson, Trevor Castellaw, Daniel Barber and Nathan Coté. 

Waddell pleads guilty to DUI
Jackson County Board of Commission chairman Jerry Waddell pled guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants in State Court proceedings Thursday.
Waddell, with his attorney Mark Wiggins, entered into the plea agreement with the state. A Clarke County judge accepted the agreement, and Waddell was sentenced to 12 months probation.
He must also spend 24 hours in jail with credit for time served, pay $853 in fines and surcharges, serve 40 hours of community service and participate in a DUI risk reduction program. Waddell's license was also suspended, however, he was allowed to file a first offender affidavit to obtain a limited driving permit.
Waddell was charged with DUI after wrecking a county car on Aug. 19 of last year on John B. Brooks Road. He refused to take a blood-alcohol test at that time. In October, he pled not guilty to the charges.


Jackson/Banks receive state
funds for road projects

The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced that Jackson County will receive state funding for the resurfacing of 10 roads.
The Jackson County roads include:
·Hospital Road (County Road 302) from Maysville Road to State Route 15A in unincorporated Jackson County.
·John Collier Road (County Road 401) from Hwy. 129 to the Clarke County line in unincorporated Jackson County.
·Legg Road (County Road 239) from State Route 82 to Jett Roberts Road in unincorporated Jackson County.
·W.H. Hayes Road (County Road 143) from Galilee Church Road to the bridge at Buffalo Creek in unincorporated Jackson County.
·Segars Street from State Route 15 to State Route 82 in Arcade.
·Ridgeway Road from Hospital Road to Mt. Olive Road in Commerce.
·Mulberry Street from Bell Avenue to Broad Street in Hoschton.
·Hoschton Street from railroad crossing to Lynn Avenue/Swimming Pool Road in Jefferson.
·Cemetery Street from State Route 98-railroad tracks to Banks Street in Maysville.
·Quail Ridge Drive from Sanford Road to Woodpecker Lane in Nicholson.
The Banks County roads include:
·Hickory Flat Road (County Road 21) from State Route 51 to State Route 323 in unincorporated Banks County.
·Spring Street from Walden Street to Shore Street in Baldwin.
·Athens Street from State Route 15 to Evans Street in Homer.
·Deer Run from Ridgeway Road to the cul-de-sac.
The estimated completion date for these projects is Jan. 31, 2001.
Funding for these road improvements is provided through the Georgia DOT's Local Assistance Road Program. Each year, all Georgia cities and counties submit a priority list of roads or streets in their jurisdiction that need to be resurfaced. The DOT reviews each road and street submitted and develops a needs assessment and cost estimate. Based on the amount of money available in LARP each year, a final list of roads is compiled and approved by the DOT commissioner for funding.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Pendergrass approves
package store license

In a 2-1 vote Tuesday night, Pendergrass became only the second town in Jackson County with a package store. The Pendergrass City Council voted to approve Rob Joyce's request for a license to sell alcohol from a planned package store at 25 Wayne Poultry Road near Hwy. 129. Councilmembers Monk Tolbert and Joyce Wilkerson voted in favor of the license, while Sandy Beck dissented.
According to city attorney Walter Harvey, the store, called "The Barn," will be allowed to sell liquor, beer and wine. Pendergrass will now join Arcade as only one of two towns in Jackson County offering packaged liquor for sale. Unincorporated areas of Jackson County remain dry.
Pendergrass hasn't yet passed an alcohol pouring ordinance for restaurants. However, Commerce, Jefferson, Braselton and Arcade do allow pouring in restaurants.
The Rev. Charles Jenkins, pastor of Pendergrass Baptist Church, came before the council Tuesday night to oppose the issuance of the license. Several members of the church were also in attendance.
"We realize you will have a lawsuit if you deny the license and don't present a real cause," Jenkins said. "We are opposed to it. We think it will degrade our community."
Since Joyce's application was complete and he met all criteria set forth in the town's 1995 alcohol sales ordinance, the council had little choice but to approve it.
"Pendergrass has a valid ordinance for licensing [alcohol] sales," said Harvey. "The courts have upheld that once a licensing ordinance is enacted, any person meeting the application criteria must be given one."
Mike Chokshi, who bought North Jackson Food Mart from Joyce earlier this year, asked the council to delay issuing the license because of a contract conflict over the sale of the Food Mart. Harvey told the council that the contract dispute was a private matter between Chokshi and Joyce and that the town had no involvement in the matter. The council then approved Joyce's license.


Planners OK Hwy. 53 waste site rezoning
Plans for an "inert disposal" facility on Hwy. 53 north of Braselton may bring out a large crowd to next week's meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. Although a rezoning for the 117-acre site was approved by the Jackson County Planning Commission last week, opponents say the site is a bad location for a landfill of any kind. Opponents are also upset because the original rezoning application didn't spell out what would be done with the property.
The planning commission approved Kelly Henderson's rezoning for the tract Thursday night in a 4-3 vote. Henderson asked to rezone the property at 8146 Hwy. 53 from PCFD to I-2 to locate an "inert disposal" for the recycling of natural products, such as stumps and grass or a "construction demolition disposal."
The BOC will hear comments on the plan next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Administrative Building in Jefferson and will take final action on the recommendation when it meets June 13.
No one spoke in opposition to the project Thursday, but two men did ask questions about the project. The developer of two nearby subdivisions is among those expected to speak next week.
Some opponents to the rezoning say no one attended the planning commission meeting to speak against the plans because the application didn't mention a disposal site. Instead, it listed the proposed use as "industrial use."
At Thursday's meeting, county director of planning and development David Clabo said both projects would require a permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. He said the EPD has rigid guidelines for permitting a construction demolition disposal site.
The developer said he plans to leave the back 25 acres of the property as a protective buffer to area residents.
Engineer Frank Gray with Eagle Engineering of Alpharetta said if it is economically feasible to recycle the items at the construction demolition disposal site, the company would do so. If not, he said the state allows the items to be buried on the property.
Members of the planning commission asked several questions as to what type of items would be accepted at the site. Old metal bathtubs would not be allowed, but the new fiberglass tubs would, Gray said. He said that whole tires would not be allowed, but shredded ones would be. He added that heavy metals would not be allowed.
There were also several questions about how much additional truck traffic the development would bring to Hwy. 53. Gray said that it is not economically feasible for someone to drive from south Atlanta or south Georgia to dispose of these items. He said most people do not drive more than 30 to 35 miles to drop off materials.
Jeffrey Bell, son of the property owner, said that his dad is 82 years old and no longer able to farm the land. He said the family had been selective in who it offered the land to and turned down an offer that would have brought a mobile home project to the property. He said Henderson's proposal is more of a recycling center than a landfill.
The recommendation came with the following conditions: the driveway entrance and exit must be approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation; an engineered site plan must be approved by the planning and development office; in addition, any regulatory plat procedures or standard buffers must be met on all property lines, according to the county zoning ordinance; and the development must be connected to a public water system.
Voting in favor of the request were David Healan, Daniel Sailors and Faye Griffin. Voting against it were Larry Sailors, Larry Benton and Tom Smith. Brant McMullan, who was acting as chairman in the absence of Keith Hayes, broke the tie by voting in favor of the request.
The planners also recommended approval to a request from Henderson to rezone 12 acres at 8146 Hwy. 53 from PCFD to B-2 to locate a commercial business park. This will have an "office park layout," according to the plans.



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Hundreds expected at Tues. BOC meeting
Hundreds of people are expected at Tuesday's meeting of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to show opposition to a proposed landfill on Hwy. 53 near Braselton. Developer John Buchanan is leading a movement against the proposed project following a hearing two weeks ago before the Jackson County Planning Commission. That group voted 4-3 to recommend approval of the project.
Tuesday's meeting will be in the Jackson County Administrative Building at 7 p.m.
In addition to neighborhood opposition to the project, the Town of Braselton has also raised concerns. Attorneys for the town said in a letter to the BOC that the rezoning was flawed since the proposed site is within Braselton's sphere of influence under House Bill 489. That legislation requires the county to notify the town within 10 days of a rezoning application if the site lies within that sphere of influence. That was apparently not done.
Braselton also said the project is subject to review under the state's Development of Regional Impact procedures. Under that law, the county is required to notifiy the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center about such projects.


Pendergrass moving forward on police grant
The Pendergrass City Council is moving forward on a grant to establish a city police force.
Mayor Mark Tolbert told the council last week that he has signed the application for the grant and that it had been submitted. Tolbert said it may take several months for the city to find out if its application was accepted.
OTHER BUSINESS
At its meeting last week, the council also:
·learned from city attorney Walter Harvey that the dicussions between the town and the county over the McEver annexation were ongoing.
·learned that Tolbert was going to advertise for bids for lawn care for the town.
·learned the audit had been completed but that the town had not yeat recieved the books from the audit.
·announced an opening on the city council to fill Harold Beck's vacated seat. Tolbert said he hopes to hold the election for the seat in July.


Hoschton considers water restrictions
With drought conditions only getting worse as summer approaches, the Hoschton City Council discussed options for limiting water use last Thursday.
Various combinations of voluntary restriction, mandatory restriction enforced with fines and increased rates for water usage over a normal domestic amount were among the ideas the council discussed with city engineer Charles Armentrout.
Council member Rosemary Bagwell said she would be in favor of a water restriction "only if we define a fine for it. Otherwise it is bogus." She pointed out that with a voluntary water restriction within set hours last year, the city's water use actually went up.
City attorney Wayne McLocklin reminded the council that an ordinance would need to be in place before it could set fines.
Council member Jan Buchanan suggested the group consider putting a water ban in place without fines and increase rates now, while in the mean time getting an ordinance with fines established.
The council did not take action on the matter, but will discuss it further at its June 12 meeting at 7 p.m.