News from Madison County...

NOVEMBER 5, 2003


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Frank Gillespie
The big gov’t way vs. the ‘Southern Redneck’ way
There are two ways to approach public works programs, the big government bureaucracy way and the Southern Redneck way. Atlanta has been using the big government bureaucracy system for their water and sewage system and it is a total mess.

Margie Richards
One rope worth walking
There’s often the man or woman at some meeting who reminds county or city leaders that growth is coming, whether we like it or not.
It’s as if he’s reminding us that a train is miles down the track — and, oh yeah, you’re standing on the track.

SPORTS
Going out a winner?

Winning season on the line against
struggling Cross Keys
The Raiders may have been awestruck by their foe this past Friday night but that shouldn’t be a problem this week.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Lula incumbent ousted
Moore wins Lula seat; Closs, Lomax win in Alto council race
In city elections Tuesday, Clyde Moore won the Ward 4 council seat in Lula while in Alto, John Closs and Phil Lomax both won in their bid for open council seats.

Banks County CVB approves $124,950 2004 budget
The Banks County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau approved a $124,950 budget for 2004 that is down about $5,000 from last year.

News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Digest error slams county
$928,000 shortfall to hit county BOE
An error in the Jackson County tax digest will create a tax revenue shortfall totaling over $1.3 million. The majority of the shortfall, $928,000, will hit the Jackson County Board of Education.

Incumbents Sweep In City Election
Sosebee In Ward 4; Davis In BOE District 3; Perry, BOE District 4; Fitzpatrick Wins The Ward 3 City Council Seat

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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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Halloween Tunes

The Madison County High School Band dressed up in a variety of Halloween costumes Friday night and performed for a large crowd in Buford. Pictured (L-R) are Neil Zelley, Amanda Andrews and John Scarborough.

Future Hwy. 72 road widening on hold
Two additional road widening projects for Hwy. 72 in Madison County have hit a virtual road block, at least for the immediate future.
Communications specialist Terri Pope, of the Georgia Department of Transportation said Monday that the Comer-Carlton bypass project is “inactive” at this time, and that road widening of a 2.9-mile stretch of Hwy. 72 from Hwy. 172 to the western city limits of Comer is progressing — albeit very slowly.
“The soonest work can begin on that portion of the project would be fiscal year 2007,” Pope said.
The D.O.T. is set to begin obtaining rights of way for this project sometime during fiscal year 2005. “It usually takes us two to three years to buy the land we need before the project can go forward,” Pope said.
As for the section of Hwy. 72 that is to bypass the downtown areas of Comer and Carlton, road design is under way, Pope said, but preliminary engineering work is on hold at this time, due to a lack of funding.
“Both these projects were on Gov. Roy Barnes’ list as GRIP (Governor’s Road Improvement Projects) as a priority, but Gov. Perdue doesn’t think that way,” Pope said.
She added that bonds were to be sold to finance such projects under Governor Barnes, but that has been canceled.
“So the status of some projects that were moving forward very quickly at one time have slowed dramatically...there are no funds now to do them,” Pope added.
A project to widen Hwy. 72 from its intersection with Hwy. 29 in Clarke County east through the city of Colbert was completed in recent years.
The DOT currently has 100 state road projects under construction in the 21 county area north and east of Gwinnett County and 300 in the pre-construction phase.


Water for the sports complex?
Danielsville council postpones decision
See additional news from the city
of Danielsville in this weeks madison County Journal.
Whether the city of Danielsville will supply drinking water to the new school sports complex across from the high school won’t be determined until at least Nov. 25, when the city council meets again to consider the matter.
The city council met with school superintendent Keith Cowne and assistant superintendents Allen McCannon and Mitch McGhee Monday. The school officials are asking the city to supply drinking water to the complex, which will sit partially within the city and partially out of the city limits.
Cowne said the school system will drill a well to supply water for irrigation of athletic fields. He said the schools will handle sewage with septic tanks.
“We’re asking for water only for drinking and toilet use,” said Cowne. “As for watering the fields, we’ll build our own well.”
The school system has offered to turn the new well over to the city, which could use it as a backup well for its drinking water system. But city council members have not shown enthusiasm for this offer. Over the past couple of years, council members have cited lack of water capacity as a primary reason for turning down development requests.
Council members agreed Monday to postpone any decision on approving the schools’ request until more information about the proximity of the septic system to the well on the site is available. (The council would not be able to incorporate the school irrigation well as part of its drinking water system unless it is a suitable distance away from the septic system.)
Cowne told the council that the new facility will include 22 toilets, nine sinks and four water fountains. He agreed that the school system should be charged in-city rates for the portion of the complex that is within the city limits and out-of-city rates for the land that is outside the city. Cowne said restroom and concession areas will be located on both parts of the property.
The council and school officials will meet again at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 25, to discuss the matter.
While the city of Danielsville ponders whether to approve water to the sports complex, the industrial authority is considering getting involved if the city rejects the plan.
The authority met Thursday morning and discussed the possibility of partnering with the school system and running a line from Madico Park to supply water for the complex.
IDA secretary and Chamber of Commerce president Marvin White told the IDA that such a connection would a be good move in expanding its water services. White spoke of linking water lines from Hull to Colbert, to Comer, to Danielsville and down Hwy. 29. He said such infrastructure would help facilitate commercial growth and generate more revenue and jobs for the county.


Comer council considers complex
Comer’s city council and a number of citizens expressed mixed emotions over a rezoning request Tuesday night, but no final decision was made.
They all agree that the nine-acre tract off Oak Street should be rezoned from its present light-industrial zone to residential. They are just not sure the proposed development is what they want. The site sits in a mixed residential area including individual homes and a public housing project. It is between Hwy. 72 and the CSX railroad on the East side of Comer.
Craig Taylor, executive director of Cooperative Resource Centers, wants to rezone the tract to multi-family residential so that he can develop an apartment complex on the site. Current city rules would allow a high-density development with up to 12 residences per acre. The nine acres could support up to 108 apartments.
Taylor said that a marketing survey would have to be conducted before deciding how many units to build. He expressed his opinion that the optimum number would be around 60 units divided between one, two and three-bedroom layouts. He projected rental rates of $475 to $625 per month. The complex will be gated, with a swimming pool, club house and recreational and educational programs for residents.
In addition, various environmental studies, impact studies and a site plan will have to be produced and approval received from numerous government agencies before construction can begin. Taylor said he was reluctant to start the expensive process of preparing the documentation before the rezoning is in place.
Cooperative Resource Centers is a non-profit, privately financed company devoted to providing quality housing to working class citizens. Taylor stated that the residents of the complex would not be welfare recipients.
“These are the people who built America,” he said. Many residents will come from mobile home parks, or young families who are living with relatives until affordable housing can be found. Others will likely move into the area.
The proposed development would be similar to the Heritage Hills development in nearby Commerce, Georgia. Heritage Hills is one of two developments the Center has built in the Commerce area. Information about the Center’s current projects in Georgia with numerous pictures is available at http:www/cooperativeresourcecenter.org
The site previously housed an agricultural supply business, leading to the present industrial zone. If the zoning is not changed, any number of manufacturing, warehousing, retail or other businesses could be built on the site.
The site has several problems that would have to be solved before the proposed development can be built, Taylor said. Among the problems are the inability of Oak Street to handle the traffic without a major upgrade, noise abatement from the adjacent railroad, and possible ground contamination from agricultural chemicals.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Journal.


IDA discusses business park property
County industrial authority members made no decisions Thursday on what to do with the controversial 80 acres off James Holcomb Road off Hwy. 72.
But they did toss around some ideas.
A primary focus was the possibility of selling a part of the land that has caused much conflict — three, five-acre lots zoned for general farming use.
IDA members said this would be a good way to develop the remaining land, while showing consideration for surrounding residents.
The 15 acres could be sold for future residential development, while keeping neighborhood covenant restrictions on the property.
The three lots were considered under covenant by neighboring residents, with many upset by the notion that the IDA could buy some land and toss aside the pre-established, neighborhood restrictions on the property.
IDA member Bruce Azevedo said the industrial authority needs to develop a long-term plan for the property. Azevedo told the authority that he and fellow authority member Gerry Burdette will work together to develop a possible plan for the property and return with a proposal for the entire IDA.
Thirty two acres of the property was recently rezoned for industrial use. Authority secretary Marvin White said there are businesses interested in locating on the property once water services and park roads are established.

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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.


Murder suspect caught in county
A Jackson County man was arrested Tuesday in Madison County in connection with the shooting death of a man in North Carolina.
Billy Pearson, 50, Jefferson, was arrested by Madison County officials who spotted him leaving a residence near Watson Mill State Park. North Carolina law enforcement authorities had posted a lookout for Pearson and received information about the Madison County location.
Madison County deputies staked out an address near Watson Mill State Park on Tuesday. Early Tuesday evening, deputies spotted a van carrying Pearson and another person leaving the residence.
Madison County deputies, aided by Oglethorpe County Sheriff Jason Lowe and his deputies stopped the van and arrested Pearson without incident in the Smithonia area of Oglethorpe County.
Pearson was charged in the shooting death of William Gary Stephens Jr., 33, Jefferson, on Oct. 25 in Harnett County, N.C.
Pearson was wanted by Madison County as well on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on an open container violation.


Golf course to stay open
Sunrise Golf Course, formerly known as Whispering Pines, will continue to operate, at least for now, according to owner John Byram.
Byram had filed for a rezoning of the property, located on Colbert-Danielsville Road adjacent to Kingston Greens, in order to develop it as a subdivision, but he said Tuesday he has decided to keep the course open, at least for the immediate future.
“It just isn’t making any money right now,” Byram said. “But I’ve decided to keep it open at least for another year or so. I’d like to keep it open...people need to come on out and support it.”


EMS ‘Manic Medic Marathon’ set for Saturday
The Madison County EMS station on Hwy. 98 in Danielsville will host a “Manic Medic Marathon,” Saturday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be an ambulance, rescue vehicles and an Emory Life Flight helicopter on hand, as well as food and drinks.
EMS professionals will perform CPR and jaws-of-life rescue demonstrations and compete in EMS events.
There will be clowns and face painting for children.
Those attending will be able to enter raffle drawings to win prize packages. All proceeds will go to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta