News from Madison County...

February 28, 2001


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillispie
War re-enactments not racist

They are at it again! The National Association of Always Complaining People (NAACP) has now decided that Civil War re-enactments are based on "racism and hatred."

Margie Richards
Bits and pieces

I ran across an interesting little magazine the other day. It is called "Bits and Pieces," and is full of funny quips and little pearls of wisdom.


SPORTS
Lady Raiders advance to second round of state tourney

March madness is in the air for the girls' basketball squad for the first time in over a decade.


Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Republican Party to hold county convention Saturday
The Banks County Republican Party will hold the county convention at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, at the Banks County courthouse in Homer.

Deadline ahead Monday for vote on county flag
Banks Countians interested in casting a ballot for the three proposed designs for a new county flag have only a few days to do so.



News from...
JACKSON COUNTY
Authority Holds County's Feet To Fire On Sewer Line
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will support its water and sewerage authority's plans to create a county sewerage system, if for no other reason than it has to.

Planners say 'No' to NJ landfill
A Carnesville company trying to bring a construction and demolition landfill to the North Jackson area failed the first step of the process Thursday night when the Jackson County Planning Commission recommended denial for a conditional use permit.


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TASTE TEST

Zack Tankersley (L) and Mark Tatum try a sampling of fruits and vegetables at last week's Produce Fair at Hull-Sanford Elementary School. The pair are students in Evelyn Wages kindergarten class. The fair, presented by the school's nutrition program and Carolina Produce, was used as a way to emphasis the importance of fruits and vegetables, while introducing children to foods they probably hadn't seen or tried before, according to school nutrition director Laura Fair. After a short presentation, each child was given a chance to taste a variety of fruits and vegetables.




County may issue ban on water expansion
Madison County commissioners may issue a temporary ban on water expansion in unincorporated areas of the county.
No action was taken on the matter at the BOC's Monday meeting, but county commission chairman Wesley Nash scheduled a public hearing on the issue for March 26 at 6 p.m.
The commissioners did not discuss the issue Monday, but after the meeting Nash said that the proposed measure would halt the development of private water systems until the county has established proper guidelines on water expansion. He said county leaders need to work with the fire departments on developing regulations.
The commissioners plan to attend the next zoning board meeting Tuesday, March 6 at 6 p.m. in the county government complex to discuss "water systems and ordinances."
A moratorium on water expansion could create conflict between the county government and Colbert. The city of Colbert contracts with a private firm, Piedmont Water, for water services. The city already provides services to customers out of the city limits and Mayor John Waggoner said Colbert is looking at expanding its out-of-city water services.
The county recently established a water system in the Hull-Dogsboro area and county leaders want to expand the customer base for that system.
With both systems looking to expand, there is the issue of who will control water development on the growing Hwy. 72 corridor.
While a moratorium may be in the works, the county industrial authority and the BOC are also continuing work on an intergovernmental agreement, which will, among other things, allow the industrial board to represent the county in purchasing a water line maintained by the Athens-Clarke County government in Hull. New county attorney Mike Pruett said he is still researching whether the county can delegate powers to the industrial authority.
Industrial authority chairman John Scoggins said the primary purpose of the intergovernmental agreement is to allow the industrial authority to provide residential water services in the county. Currently, the authority can provide industrial and commercial water services.
Waggoner spoke out against the proposed intergovernmental agreement, calling it "very broad."
He said the arrangement under consideration will hurt municipal water systems in the county.
"This stops cities from looking for sources outside of the city," said Waggoner.
The mayor also said he feels the county's shared service delivery strategies may need to be reviewed and revised. Two years ago the state mandated that county and city governments outline how they will work together to provide services to citizens.




Details unavailable on Guest settlement
Madison County commissioners settled a case Monday with a developer who sued the county, but leaders are not yet releasing details on what the settlement stipulated.
County commissioners met for over an hour in closed session Monday before agreeing to approve a settlement with James Guest, who filed suit against the county in September 1999, saying the BOC illegally thwarted his planned 11-home development on Double Branch Road. Guest sought "not less than $100,000" in punitive damages.
New county attorney Mike Pruett said Tuesday that the settlement has a "confidentiality clause." He said he could not comment on what it entailed until the documents on the settlement were complete. Pruett said he would be more "at liberty" to discuss the case next week.
Guest could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
The Guest suit was not the only matter discussed by commissioners in closed session Monday. The board discussed two other litigation issues.
The commissioners talked about a letter from attorneys in Athens who represent a Madison County child injured in a two-bus accident last year on Hwy. 98. The letter threatens litigation against the county government. The Madison County school system, not the Madison County government, oversees bus operations in the county.
The board also discussed a letter from attorney Cynthia Weaver, who represents former commissioner Ken Clark. The letter threatens litigation over the legal fee issue. County commissioners voted months ago not to pay some $2,600 in attorney's fees for Clark's defense of a recall effort against him.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Madison County Journal.

Controversial zoning request withdrawn
A controversial zoning measure that would have opened the door for a subdivision with approximately 50 lots off Hwy. 106 was withdrawn Monday.
Phil Munro, a civil engineer representing owner Roger Glass of Oconee Timber, asked the planning commission last week to recommend that the board of commissioners rezone 65 acres near Moon's Grove Road from A-2 (agricultural, five-acre minimum lot size) to R-1 (single family residential, one-acre lot minimum with a community water source) in order to subdivide it into lots of one to one and a half acres in size.
Numerous people attended last week's planning commission meeting to oppose the proposal. And the meeting room of the Madison County
government complex was packed Monday night until the withdrawal was announced and approximately half of those in attendance left.
Neighbors opposed the project based on water supply, sewage, traffic and other concerns.
No announcement was made Monday on why the proposal was withdrawn.
In a separate zoning matter, the commissioners approved a request from Wayne Crider to rezone 13.19 acres on Lem Edwards Road. Crider wanted to rezone his land from A-2 (agricultural, five- acre minimum) to R-R (rural residential, two-acre minimum) in order to divide the parcel - which has been split previously into two 6.5-acre lots, each with a home on it - into six, two-acre parcels with one easement to serve those lots which will not be adjacent to Lem Edwards Road.
Officials had a hard time determining whether Crider's request was for one or two parcels of land, because the parcel was submitted under one application since it is listed under a single tax identification number.
Kim Butler, zoning administrator, and Leo Smith, a frequent advisor to the board on technical matters, said they felt the property constituted two parcels of land.
This determination is significant because according to the zoning ordinance, land falls under major subdivision regulations when it is split into five lots or more of less than five acres each.
Crider said he always assumed the property was two tracts.
"Why they left it under the tax bill like that, I don't know," said Crider.
Betty Veal, who lives across the street from Crider, spoke against the proposal, saying she'd like to keep the area rural.
"When other people in the area attempted to put in mobile homes, they had to set aside at least five acres," she said. "I feel that should go for everyone."
In other zoning matters, the board turned down a request from Marvin Reed for owner Emery Moore to rezone a 1.14-acre parcel on Azalea Lane from A-2 to B-2 (business). Reed wanted to construct three mini storage buildings on the lot. The proposal was opposed by planners who said it was not in line with zoning of surrounding areas. A motion for denial failed by a 3-2 vote failed, with commissioners Bill Taylor and Johnny Fitzpatrick voting for denial and commissioners Mike Youngblood, Melvin Drake and Bruce Scogin voting against denial. A motion for approval then failed, with Drake and Scogin voting for approval and Taylor, Fitzpatrick and Youngblood voting for denial.
The commissioners postponed a request from William Henry Jones to rezone 7.88 acres on Della Slayton Road from A-1 to R-R. The board unanimously approved a request from Lamar Fortson to rezone approximately four acres on Miller-McElreath Road from A-2 to R-R. The commissioners also unanimously approved a request by Alvin L. Wyatt for a a use variance and area variance on 3.43 acres on Kellogg Drive for continued use of existing home occupation with expansion as accessory building.




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Residents look to keep the 'rural character' of county
Combating residential "sprawl" and protecting the county's rural character were the focus points of last week's first of two meetings on future land use.
Although Madison County is still dominated by agricultural lands, residential development is on the rise, particularly in the Dogsboro area, according to studies presented by the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center (RDC).
County residents filled the public meeting room of the county complex Thursday night as updating the county's Comprehensive Land Use Plan moved into its final stages, with an often spirited discussion on controlling the county's growth for the next five years.
Determining just what the terms "high, medium, and low" density mean and making - or not making - changes to the current land use map will be the focus of the second part of the land use meeting scheduled for this Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the county complex.
Some changes to the map could include labeling specific density areas with clear borders, such as a major roads, for easier interpretation by county planners.
According to representatives from the Regional Development Center, who are hosting the series of meetings, citizens should also consider other forms of residential areas to combat sprawl, such as conservation subdivisions which utilize smaller acreage for homesites and have designated open and recreational areas
that protect the natural surroundings.
For the complete story, see this week's Madison County Journal.


Couple faces arson charges
Sheriff's investigators arrested a Danielsville couple last week after their doublewide mobile home, located on Lakeview Circle, was destroyed by fire.
Danielsville and Ila Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the fire on Friday, Feb. 23, at approximately 10 a.m. after a passing motorist spotted the blaze and called 911.
Eddie Hicks, 39, and Janie Elizabeth Hicks, 41, were arrested on one count each of arson in the first degree.
Both are out on bond and awaiting trial, according to Investigator Cody Cross.
Cross said the inside of the home was completely destroyed and that there appeared to be three points of origin of the fire; two in back bedroom closets and one spot in the middle of another bedroom. Lamp oil was the suspected fuel used.


Man, woman arrested after allegedly stealing car at gunpoint
A Commerce man and woman face robbery, drug and weapons charges after they were arrested Thursday.
The two suspects were apprehended at a residence at 1251 South Elm Street for their alleged involvement in an armed robbery and carjacking in Hull.
They were identified as Lee Marvin Stone, 28, and Tonya Smallwood, 23.
According to a Madison County incident report, the two stole a black 1990 Cadillac Seville from Lisa Martin after forcing her off the Old Elberton Road at the Hull Volunteer Fire Department station.
Martin said a white male she identified as Stone had a handgun, ordered her to give up the car and threatened to kill her when she resisted.
According to the incident report, Stone fired a bullet, which missed Martin's legs and went into the pavement. Meanwhile, a white female, identified as "Tonya," confronted Danny Cannon, a passenger in the vehicle.
Stone was charged with hijacking, two counts of aggravated assault, criminal use of an article with an altered ID mark, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Smallwood faces one count of hijacking, two counts of aggravated assault and a parole warrant.
Madison County sheriff Clayton Lowe said the victim and alleged assailants were not strangers.
"This was not a random act," he said.