News from Madison County...

JULY 24, 2002


Madison County
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OPINIONS

Frank Gillespiie
A sermon on love
The last time I wrote a sermon, I was invited to preach. Can you imagine that? Public speaking, other than telling well-rehearsed tall tales, is not my strong point.

Margie Richards
Remembering a kindness
I got a phone call last week, the kind everyone dreads but we all know are bound to come.
My cousin, Perry (we call him Junior), called to tell me his son, Billy, had died.


SPORTS

Directions to Area Schools

Madison Co. senior all-stars win state title
The numerous home run celebrations at home plate last week were upstaged by a grand finale Friday afternoon — a mad dash by players, coaches and fans to the first base side of the infield, where all piled on for the victory dog pile, reminiscent of a scramble for a loose football.


Neighboorhood News ..
JACKSON COUNTY
Sept. 3 target date for Quad Cities Planning Commission
If all goes as planned, the so-called Quad Cities Planning Commission could become a reality for Jefferson, Arcade, Pendergrass and Talmo on Sept. 3.

Murder suspect brought back to Jackson County
The suspect in a double murder near Arcade was brought back to Jackson County this week.


Hoschton hires consultant for large project
In a called meeting, the Hoschton City Council unanimously agreed on Thursday to hire a planning consultant for a proposed large-scale commercial development on Hwy. 53 and Hwy. 332.

Neighborhood News...
BANKS COUNTY
Vandals hit Baldwin Elementary
Custodians at Baldwin Elementary School were shocked Friday morning to find vandals had trashed 12 classrooms Thursday night causing an estimated $5,000 to $8,000 worth of damages.

125th Sunday School Celebration set Saturday
The 125th Sunday School Celebration will get under way at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Veteran’s Park in Homer. Children and adults from 11 area churches will participate.

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Norwood to visit Banks Aug. 6
Congressman Charlie Norwood, the United States Congressman for Georgia’s 10th District, will visit Banks County on Aug. 6. He will be at the historic courthouse in Homer from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

GAME-WINNER

Madison County’s Joshua “Hounddog” Fields is greeted by teammates as he leaps onto homeplate after smashing a game-winning, three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning Friday versus Cartersville. The win gave Madison County the senior all-star state championship.

BOC votes ‘no’ on subdivision
Plans for a 72-home subdivision off Hwy. 72 were turned down by commissioners Monday, as many took the podium to offer their take on the rural vs. growth debate in Madison County.
County commissioners met for five and a half hours Monday, with over two hours of discussion centering on plans by Harold Gaulding, Stephen Fennel and Sonny Dinsmore to rezone two tracts of land to Residential-1 status so they could move forward with a proposed major subdivision.
The commissioners voted 3-2 to deny a request to rezone 24.82 acres on Hwy. 72 from B-2 to R-1 and 4-1 to turn down a request to rezone 79.69 acres on Hwy. 172 from A-1 to R-1. Commissioner Bruce Scogin made a motion for approval on both rezoning requests, but both motions failed for lack of a second. Commissioner Melvin Drake voted with Scogin against denial on the first request, but did not vote for approval.
The commissioners unanimously approved a third request by Gaulding to rezone 11.93 acres on Hwy. 172 from A-1 to B-2.
Attorney Victor Johnson, who represented Gaulding, said that the subdivision plans were “consistent with existing land use because 62 percent of lots in this area are residential.” He said the close proximity to Hwy. 72 also makes the major development suitable.
Gaulding reiterated the point.
“We’re surrounded on three sides by what we’re asking for (residential),” said Gaulding. He added, “I wouldn’t do anything to hurt my county.”
Johnson told the board that “the growth is coming” and that people will have to have somewhere to live.
Others spoke in favor of the proposal too, saying that homes on smaller lots are needed for younger couples searching for “starter homes” and that more people in the county would help local businesses.
But nine people took the podium to oppose the plans, many sharing the belief that approval of the project would put Madison County on a path toward destruction of the county’s rural character.
“Yes, growth is coming,” said farmer Dennis Moon. “But it has to be at the right place at the right time. We are a rural county....The future of the county is in your (BOC’s) hands.”
Madison County farmer Terry Chandler said the county must change the “general scattered direction in development.” He urged the board to keep high-density developments in “confined areas.”
“If you remove the country from Madison County, then the reason for people to live here will no longer exist,” he said.
Charles Potts, who has a horse and cattle operation in the county, said he didn’t think the development would attract quality people to the county.
“I don’t think it will bring the kind of people we need,” he said, adding that the development would be a burden on county services, such as schools and law enforcement.


12-year-old dies in four-wheeler accident
A 12-year-old Madison County boy was killed last weekend in a four-wheeler accident in a wooded area off North Eades Road in Oglethorpe County.
According to Madison County EMT Anita Fincher, who works part-time for Oglethorpe County EMS, Talmadge (Kicz) Maxey, of Comer, was fatally injured last Saturday evening around 6 p.m. when a four-wheeler he was riding on the back of flipped as it climbed a steep hill. The driver of the four-wheeler jumped, but Maxey was unable to and the vehicle rolled over him causing injuries to his head and upper body.
The boys were part of a group of other four-wheeler riders who had come to the area to ride their vehicles.
Rescuers had to access the heavily wooded site, located several miles from the main road near the river, on four-wheelers and an EMS ATV called a “gator.”
An Emory life flight chopper was called to the scene to airlift the victim, but he was taken instead by ambulance to Athens Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead around 8:30 p.m., Fincher said.


Developer allowed to put duplexes on Sanford Road
Tom Munro will be allowed to construct three duplexes off Sanford Road.
Madison County commissioners approved — by a 3-2 vote — Munro’s request Monday to rezone 6.21 acres on Sanford Road from R-R to R-2.
Commissioners Bruce Scogin, Johnny Fitzpatrick and Melvin Drake voted in favor of the request. Bill Taylor and Mike Youngblood voted against the measure.
The action came after considerable discussion of the request. Civil engineer Phil Munro — no relation to the applicant — represented Munro, telling commissioners that the plan for duplexes is suitable for the area.
“The rezoning request is well within the high density zoning as shown in the comprehensive plan,” said P. Munro.
He also said Munro’s development would be high quality. He showed the commissioners photos of his previous work.
“Mr. Munro is not going to come in and bulldoze every tree in sight,” said P. Munro. “He’s going to leave as much green space as possible....The developer has shown himself to be of a quality nature.”
But others weren’t so pleased with the plans. Seven people spoke against the development.
David Fields, who lives next to the proposal, said his property value will go down because of the development and his family’s sense of privacy will suffer with duplexes in their line of sight every time they come and go from the home.
“I moved to Madison County to get away from duplexes,” said Fields. “...My life will change if you grant this.”
Others pointed out that Sanford Road is a “cut through road” and that the addition of duplexes would create a traffic hazard, with people entering the roadway on a “dangerous curve.”
There were also concerns about possible sewage drainage from the development to neighboring property on a downhill grade, as well as the possibility that the rental property could attract residents who don’t have a lasting interest in the area. Those opposed to the development also said the duplexes would harm the rural integrity of the land.
In other zoning matters Monday, the commissioners unanimously approved two requests: one by Robert Shaw for an area variance on .76 acres on Hwy. 106 to locate a storage building within 20 feet of a property line and a separate request by David and Sheila Herring to rezone 5.28 acres on Della Slaton Road from A-2 to R-R/B-1. The Herrings want to subdivide the property for two existing homes and build a neighborhood game room.

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To read more about the local events in Madison County, including births, weddings, sports news and school news, see this week's Madison County Journal.


Still no ruling on whether Hudgens can run for senate
Whether state representative Ralph Hudgens will be allowed to run for the District 47 state senate seat remained up in the air as of Journal press time this week.
Judge John B. Gatto heard arguments Thursday from complainant Robert Johnson of Hartwell, who contends that Hudgens lives in District 49, not in District 47, and should be disqualified from this year’s state senate race. Hudgens says that he has been a District 47 resident for over a year and that he has met all guidelines to seek the senate post.
A ruling may not come this week. A secretary in Gatto’s office said today (Wednesday, July 24) that the judge will be tied up in hearings until Monday.
Hudgens is scheduled to face 30-year-old Democrat Robert Banks of Canon in the November general election for the newly drawn District 47 seat, which includes most of Madison County, all of Banks, Oglethorpe, Hart, Elbert and Taliaferro counties and parts of Jackson, Franklin, Habersham, Wilkes, Lincoln, Oconee, Greene, Warren and McDuffie counties.