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It's football time again!
Timing is the name of the game during summer
football camps around the area. GHSA member football teams were
allowed to begin summer practice this week without pads.
Taking advantage of a second chance
The morning of September 7, 1999, began as any other for Jackson
County soccer star Jeremy Friedman. "We were going to school,
and it was just like a regular morning. I was sitting back in
the truck, just dozing off . . . "
Tiger Football Practice Under Way
Commerce kicked off the 2000 season with
its first week of high school football practice this Monday.
About 43 players have begun the week. Commerce coach Steve Savage
said the first week of practice is a time to begin working in
several facets of the game.
Sunday winds destroy chicken houses, cause power outages
A storm ravaged parts of Madison County Sunday
afternoon, causing power outages for about 2,500 residents, with
wind damage putting at least one county chicken farmer out of
Counseling program proposed for Madison County
Madison County's Jess Martin wants county
commissioners to put $70,000 into a program he believes could
change many lives in a positive way. But the board made no decision
on the matter during its Monday meeting.
Tax bills expected to go out late again; may be in
the mail by December
Property owners in Banks County may be happy
to hear the news: Ad valorem tax bills will not be going out
on time this year.
Bills need to go out around the end of October, with taxes due
in mid-December, said Banks County tax assessor Andy Scroggs.
But this year, Scroggs said he will be happy if bills go out
Tornado hits southwestern Banks County
A tornado touched down in southwestern Banks
County Sunday afternoon with trees being uprooted and a chicken
The Jackson Herald
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TRUCK WRECK ON I-85
A tractor trailer truck and a pick-up truck wrecked
Tuesday afternoon on I-85 near the Plainview Rd. overpass area.
There were several injuries, but further details on the accident
were not available at press time. The interstate was closed for
several hours while the scene was being cleared.
labor shut down until Mon.
By Jana Adams
Except for workers needed to handle
garbage flow at the county's transfer station, inmate labor has
been shut down across Jackson County until Monday.
The move to shut down inmate labor came Wednesday when an audit
by the state department of corrections revealed that some paperwork
had not been completed.
"We felt like until we got up to their SOP (standard operating
procedures), we should shut down," said county commissioner
Jerry Waddell. "That doesn't mean we weren't following their
guidelines, we just didn't have all the forms filled out."
Waddell explained that the paperwork in question involved outside
detail, not prison detail, where he says the county continues
to follow the state's SOP. He added that, due to health reasons,
inmates will continue to operate the transfer station.
"We've got officers in classes finding out what forms need
to be filled out," Waddell said, adding that members of
the state audit team will return to the county next Friday to
make sure the paperwork is up to par.
"We sign a contract with them every year to house prisoners,
and we know we have to follow their guidelines," he said.
"Part of that is filling out these forms."
City School Board
To Close On New School Site Friday Morning
The Commerce Board of Education plans to close Friday on the
purchase of 63 acres off the Jefferson Road where it intends
to build a new elementary school.
Superintendent Larry White said Tuesday he was contacting school
board members to call a board meeting for 7:30 Thursday night
at the Commerce Middle School Media Center at which the board
would pass a resolution authorizing the purchase.
White would not release the cost for the land.
"We got a very reasonable price," he insisted.
The land is owned by Dr. Joe L. Griffeth and is the site at which
the Jackson County Board of Education has looked twice when considering
schools. It was the number two site for the East Jackson Middle
School and was to be the site of a new Commerce High School had
the most recent school merger effort born fruit.
"I'm excited about this. This puts us forward," said
The board's option on the tract ran out Friday, but it got an
extension until Monday. White said the board's attorney, Ronnie
Hopkins of Jefferson, is putting the closing together.
The board plans to build a facility to house grades three through
six, keeping the present elementary school for the instruction
of grades Pre-K through two. Surging enrollment during the past
three years has filled the building beyond capacity.
"The earliest date we could be in a new building is three
to five years. Realistically, we're looking at three to five
years," said White. "It depends on what kind of growth
According to White, the tract is large enough to accommodate
two schools, although a power transmission line cutting the property
could be a problem. The Georgia Department of Education would
rule on that matter. In addition, there is some chance that the
school board might swap land with Deer Trail Country Club to
gain more road frontage.
See this week's The Commerce News for the rest of the story.
BOC sued over
WJ landfill denial
It looks like Jackson County officials will be going to court
again over zoning decisions made by the board of commissioners.
Two lawsuits have been filed against the county over denials
by the BOC to rezone property for an inert landfill and a day
Kelly Henderson, acting on behalf of property owner Dean Bell,
and Ray Vaughn both recently filed lawsuits against the county
for denying their rezoning requests. The county denied Henderson's
request on June 13 to rezone 117 acres on Hwy. 53 from PCFD to
I-2 to locate a landfill. Vaughn filed suit over a Feb. 8 denial
of his request to rezone 1.10 acres on Maddox Road from R-1 to
B-2 for a day care center.
Henderson had planned to locate an inert landfill and construction
waste recycling facility in West Jackson. More than 250 people
attended a BOC hearing in opposition to the plans. The commissioners
denied the request on the grounds that the proposed use is not
suitable to adjacent and nearby property and because it doesn't
conform to the county land use plan.
The lawsuit filed by Henderson states that the planning and development
department director (David Clabo) investigated the request and
his report stated that the rezoning complied with the county
land use plan and that there "were no detrimental factors
identified as a result of the rezoning." The suit states
that the decision made by the BOC was "arbitrary, irrational
and unreasonable." The suit also points out that the planning
commission recommended approval of the request. Henderson states
that he has spent "tremendous amounts of money and time"
on the project and will suffer "irreparable harm" unless
the court intervenes.
"The rezoning would not harm the defendants or the public
of Jackson County, but failure to rezone will impose a substantial
detriment upon the plaintiff," the suit reads.
Henderson also contents that the present rezoning of the property
is "significantly detrimental" to the property owner.
The BOC denied Vaughn's request stating that it would "create
an overcrowding condition of existing roads, streets, utilities
or schools." In his suit, he says that neither the planning
department or the BOC presented any "factual evidence to
substantiate its reasons for denial." He also states that
the property is within a designated commercial and industrial
area of the county's comprehensive land use plan and the request
meets all requirements of the county planning department.
wants 1-acre lot minimums in city for more 'upscale' homes
The lack of city sewage and a desire to
prevent overcrowding has Hoschton officials talking about requiring
one-acre minimum lots in the town's R-1 residential areas.
In a meeting last week, Hoschton council members met with Lee
Carmen of the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Commission
to review proposed zoning ordinance changes and land use plans.
Topping the list of issues was residential development in the
town and a desire by city leaders to increase the minimum lot
size from one-half acre lots with sewage, or three-fourth acre
lots with septic tanks, to one-acre lots for any future R-1 housing
in the town.
"They'll have to have at least an acre if they are moving
here," said council member Rosemary Bagwell. "We're
not in the business to make it profitable for developers. We
want homes that are more upscale. If that is not feasible, they'll
When asked by city clerk Cindy Edge if these changes would eventually
mean that Hoschton wouldn't have low or middle income residents,
Bagwell and councilman Paul Turman replied, "Not necessarily."
"This will just keep developers from coming in and buying
agricultural land (at a lower price) and then reselling it and
lining their pockets," Bagwell added.
Carmen agreed to prepare an updated zoning map for the city,
which will reflect the current zoning status of the area. She
will also make changes to the revised future land use map for
the city as directed by the council members. A public hearing
will be held at a later date on the zoning matters after the
ordinance goes before the Jackson County Planning Commission
"The future land use map takes into consideration our limited
sewage capacity," Turman pointed out. "We don't have
the sewage capacity for medium density."
Bagwell added: "I'm worried that we don't have capacity
for low density....I think the stricter we can be, the better
off we'll be 10 years down the line."
Another proposed change in the city's zoning ordinance sets 12-foot
side and rear yard requirements so buildings cannot be located
right on a property line. See this week's Jackson Herlad for
the rest of the story.
OKs Wilson Subdivision
What a difference a month makes. In June,
the Commerce Planning Commission pushed developer Daniel Wilson
to rearrange the "green space" in a proposed 15-acre
subdivision, threatening to reject his plat if he didn't. But
Monday night the same panel approved virtually the same plat
with a shrug of resignation.
The result was the go-ahead for Wilson and his partner Frank
McGowan to build the 23-lot Lakeview Glen off Lakeview Avenue.
At the June meeting, the board made it clear it would reject
the plat unless the developers considered re-arranging undeveloped
green space in the project. They even asked Wilson to eliminate
one lot to accomplish that.
But when engineer Barry Lord presented the plat Monday night,
the only change was to dedicate land at the back of some lots
to green space along the creek. Lord also pointed out that under
the city's subdivision ordinance, the development is not required
to set aside any land for green space.
Greg Perry, who had most pressed the developers for the change,
told the board that he'd shown Wilson and Lord the video upon
which new green space requirements are being developed and asked
if they could reduce the right of way for the street and the
setback requirements to create more green space.
"The city council would not be able to pass it," Lord
responded. "You might like it and pass it, but it wouldn't
fall under the zoning (ordinance)."
City building inspector David Lanphear confirmed that the panel
could not grant the variances Perry suggested, pointing out that
the right of way requirement is based on the city's need for
"Absent the right to grant variances, I suppose we're stuck,"
"As in?" chairman Billy Vandiver inquired.
"Move to approve," Perry stated.
The motion passed unanimously.
The planning commission also voted to recommend that the city
council approve a six-month moratorium on plat approval for subdivisions.
The council had voted to enact a moratorium, only to find that
the planning commission had to hold a public hearing and make
a recommendation on the matter first.
Vandiver explained that developments already approved will use
up all of the city's sewer capacity, but Lanphear and city councilman
Sam Brown pointed out that tightening the subdivision regulations
is the main reason for the moratorium.
"Also, our subdivision regulations are weak," Lanphear
commented, adding that it could take six months to get them amended.
"That's really what it's more about than infrastructure,"
"It's infrastructure, but it's more than infrastructure
too," he said.
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authority approves water for Plainview area
County water will arrive in the Plainview area of Jackson County
in a little over six months.
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority voted in a called
meeting Monday morning to approve a contract for 105,000 feet
of water lines to serve parts of Hwy. 82, Plainview Road, Pond
Fork Church Road, Old State Road, Deadwyler Road, Marlow Road
and Unity Church Road.
Approval of the $1.6 million project fulfills the first commitment
the authority made last year as it sought voter approval of a
five-year special purpose local option sales tax. That was to
provide water to the last local fire department lacking a source
of public water. Plainview Fire Department will get service with
The bid went to Dale Construction Co., a Jackson County firm
that also has the contracts for water line work related to the
construction of the Jefferson and Pendergrass bypasses of Hwy.
129. Dale bid $564,275 in a labor-only bid. The authority will
provide $1 million in materials.
Fourteen companies submitted bids. The highest bid was $1.22
million for labor only, while the second-lowest bid was just
shy of $700,000.
Work is expected to begin in two to three weeks, and the contract
provides six months for construction.
The new line will connect to existing county water lines at four
locations: Plainview Road, Holly Springs Road, Stockton Farm
Road and at the intersection of Pond Fork and Old State roads.
The award of the bid means Dale could find itself working simultaneously
on three authority projects. Dale has signed contracts to move
water lines on the two bypass projects, but has been unable to
start because the Georgia Department of Transpiration has yet
to mark the centerlines.
"Charlie (Armentrout, the authority's engineer) asked a
lot of detailed questions about their ability to do the work,
and he thinks they can do it," said Mims.
In other business, the authority voted to hire someone to get
the 70 to 80 easements it will need to run a 16-inch water line
from South Jackson to the Georgia Power plant at Center.
"We've got so much going on that nobody has the time to
do it," noted Paul Mims, superintendent.
Blood Drive Set
At First Baptist
A community blood drive will be held at
the First Baptist Church of Commerce from 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday,
July 27, in the church's Family Fellowship Center.
Donors will receive vouchers for two free tickets to the Aug.
18 pre-season game of the Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego Chargers.
Call Barbara Buchanan at the church office at 335-4083 to sign
up or call Debbie Painter at the American Red Cross blood services
office at 546-0681 for more information. Walk-ins will also be
Red Cross supplies the blood used at BJC Medical Center, the
Athens hospitals and most of the hospitals in the state. Officials
are hoping for a strong turnout, because there is a shortage
of blood for treating cancer patients and for use in surgery.
Such shortages are common during the summer, when attendance
at blood drives lags due to vacation schedules.
No one knows when they will need blood to stay alive, the Red
Cross points out. In fact, nine out of 10 Americans who live
to be 72 will require blood products some time during their lives,
according to the Red Cross. The need for blood remains relatively
constant throughout the year, yet donations drop off dramatically
during the summer. Most healthy people who are 17 and older and
weigh 110 pounds or more can donate blood.
to plan social building for Jefferson
The first business of the newly-formed
Jefferson civic center committee will be to make a recommendation
on providing a small building for the city for social functions.
Members of the city council told the committee in a meeting Monday
night to begin immediately making plans for the building, to
be located where the current clubhouse is on Old Swimming Pool
Road. Council members said it should be approximately 40' x 60'.
Options given to the committee include a metal building; a concrete
building that could later be bricked; or the renovation of the
current clubhouse. Council member Bosie Griffith did point out
that builders had already been to the club house and said it
would not be cost-efficient to renovate it.
For the rest of the story, see this week's Herald.
Less than 24 hours after the Commerce
Planning Commission voted to recommend that the city institute
a six-month moratorium on subdivision plat approval, the city
council acted on the recommendation.
The council held a called meeting Tuesday night and voted to
accept the planning commission's recommendation.
The city had advertised the meeting, having voted at its July
10 regular meeting to call it.
Healan files suit
against Hoschton over zoning denial
A former Hoschton City Council member has filed a lawsuit against
the town over the denial of his rezoning request for a subdivision.
David Healan filed the lawsuit over a June 12 denial by the city
council to rezone 34.53 acres on Cabin Drive to R-1 to locate
a 55-home subdivision. The basis of his lawsuit is that the city's
1988 zoning ordinance is unconstitutional and invalid. Healan
was not on the council in 1988, according to city leaders.
Healan's suit states that the city did not follow the required
advertising and notice requirements before it adopted the zoning
ordinance on March 10, 1988. He also contends that the ordinance
and zoning map were not sufficiently identified at the time which
leads to "uncertainty as to what was adopted."
The Jackson County Planning Commission had recommended approval
of Healan's request and Healan met with city leaders numerous
times about the project. The request was denied because of the
council's concern about what the construction vehicles would
do to the existing road and the scarcity of water and city sewage