News from Madison County...

DECEMBER 10, 2003


Madison County
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OPINIONS
Farnk Gillespie
How to win the trade wars
OK. We have removed the tariffs on steel. Now what can we do to protect the American steel companies? Should we make the effort?

Zach Mitcham
Who needs Cinderella when we have computers?
Talk about the college football national championship and there is no flesh and blood to blame, no Olympic figure skating judge who’s been bought off.


SPORTS
Seniors Allen, Shubert named to AAAA all-state softball team
The Madison County softball team is holding its awards banquet Thursday night but two Raider softball players have already nabbed some early accolades.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
Chimney fires spark warning
Fire dept. offers safety tips for wood stoves
Residents cranking up their wood-burning stoves and fireplaces need to be aware of the dangers that exist with such heating systems.
Banks County volunteer assistant fire chief John Creasy said the chimneys and pipes should be checked or replaced before starting that warm fire.

Bids for BCPS classroom addition to go out soon
Addition projected to be open by August
Bids for the 11 classroom addition at Banks County Primary School are set to go out in February and officials are hoping to open the new wing by the start of next school year.

News from
JACKSON COUNTY
Jefferson looks at impact fees
Jefferson leaders are apparently moving toward enacting impact fees for the town.
Consultant Bill Ross gave a one-hour presentation on impact fees at the Jefferson City Council meeting Monday night. City manager David Clabo asked what the next step would be and Ross suggested the town seek proposals from consultants who would lead the town in the development of impact fees. Ross said it would take eight to nine months to get impact fees approved.

Suspects sought
Robbers pose as salesmen and gain entry to Pendergrass home
Three men robbed an elderly Pendergrass man on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at his Mtn. Creek Church Road home, according to an incident report filed at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

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The Madison County Journal
Danielsville, Georgia
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Santa Claus had some help waving to the crowd from his two elves, Kalei Guest, 3, and Staci Sims, 10 months, during Saturday’s annual Comer Christmas Parade.

South Madison water purchase completed
Acquisition is key component
of development plans in Hull area
Madison County’s Industrial Authority signed final papers and wrote a check for $507,187 on Monday, Dec. 1, to complete the purchase of the existing South Madison Water System.
The action was announced by IDA spokesman Marvin White during the Eggs and Issues Breakfast in Ila last Wednesday.
The purchase transfers four miles of water line and 200 customers from Athens-Clarke County to Madison County’s industrial authority and completes the first three steps in establishing a county water system.
Already in place are two deep wells with all required water treatment facilities and a 300,000-gallon storage tank. Two miles of new water lines along the Fortson’s Store Road and Hwy. 72 will connect the wells and tank to the existing system.
Madison County now has 45 days from the date of purchase to connect its pipes to the system and disconnect from the Athens-Clarke water system.
Customers will be billed by Athens-Clarke in January for December water use. Madison County’s first billing will go out in February for January water use.
Consumers will be billed a minimum of $14.50 per month for 3,000 gallons or less. Additional water use will be billed at $3.50 per thousand gallons.
The IDA recently hired Tyson Culberson as utility director of the system. An office manager will also be hired soon. The IDA will accept bids for maintenance and hookup service from private contractors.
The Industrial Authority’s stated purpose in establishing the water service was to provide infrastructure in the South Madison area as an incentive to businesses to locate in the area. Madison County ranks far behind surrounding counties in economic development. Lack of water is listed as one of the problems delaying economic development. Several hundred acres of land around the Dogsboro intersection (Hwy. 29 and Glenn Carrie Road/Fortson’s Store Road) have been zoned for commercial development. The area already hosts a large grocery market, two banks, a drug store, a sporting goods store, a Dollar Store along with several restaurants, convenience stores and used automobile sales lots.
Work just began to add 3,000 feet of water line beginning at the Dogsboro intersection and running north along Hwy. 29 to Piedmont Road. The project is being funded by a new grant from the Employment Incentive Program (EIP) and leftover money from several other grants. The addition will help development of the commercial sites along the highway. Carter and Sloope is managing construction of the new line.
White stated that several requests for services have already been received by the industrial authority. Chandler Ray Mobile Home Park in Hull has requested service for their 15 residential units. They will be closing a community well that has had maintenance problems. Hidden Falls subdivision plans to develop 41 lots, and a proposed new subdivision off the Spratlin Mill Road will add another 39 lots. The developer will pay the cost of 800 feet of new water main from Hwy. 72 to the development.


Rezoning request withdrawn in Comer
‘I may or may not be back,’ applicant says
Craig Taylor, Executive Director of Cooperative Resource Centers, withdrew his request for rezoning a nine-acre tract between Hwy. 72 and the railroad from commercial to high density residential at the Comer City Council meeting Tuesday night.
After presenting additional information to the council, which had tabled his requests last month, Taylor responded to citizens’ concerns about soil pollution in the site. He asked that his petition be withdrawn until he can conduct soil sample test and noise test to see how the nearness of the railroad would affect potential residents.
The site was formerly used as a cotton seed cleaning area. The ground was contaminated with acids used in the cleaning process. A clean-up of the area was performed but nearby residents say they can still smell the contamination coming from the site.
“I may or may not be back,” Taylor told the commission.
Also Tuesday, the council tabled a request from John and Jean Payne for the annexation of 53 acres of a 98-acre tract and the rezoning of the entire tract from agriculture to residential. The delay was to assure all legal steps have been taken.
The council approved beer and wine licenses for Comer Amoco, WAP Food Corporation and Kangaroo #3349.
They heard a report that the Comer Fire Department has received a grant of $157,500 to purchase a new pumper/tanker truck.
They briefly discussed the old depot building that has been vacated, and what to do about the building’s furnace.
They received an update on the city’s request for an increase in waste water allocation.
Rodney Christian has been hired as a patrolman for the city’s police department.


Proposals spark growth discussion at BOC meeting
Just what restrictions should the county have to manage growth?
The matter certainly spawns some debate.
And Monday, county commissioners were presented with more amendments to the county zoning ordinance, drawing objections from two local developers who said too many restrictions are stifling growth in the county.
The group postponed any decisions on the proposed changes, agreeing to meet with local developers and any interested citizens at a work session on Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the county government complex. The group postponed the matter for two months so that they can review numerous pages of detailed zoning guidelines.
Leo Smith, the spokesman for a committee reviewing the county’s zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations, presented commissioners with proposed amendments Monday to the zoning ordinance.
One proposed change would give the planning commission the authority to grant or deny variances, a duty currently held by the BOC. Smith said applicants could appeal to the BOC if they felt they had been unfairly treated. He added that commissioners in most growing county’s delegate the variance authority to a separate board.
Commissioner Bruce Scogin said he spoke with citizens who felt the commissioners should retain the authority, since the BOC is an elected board. He also said he didn’t understand some of the planning commission’s recent decisions.
Smith said that what the BOC hears at public hearings is quite often different than what the zoning board hears at its hearings the week before the BOC meets.
The amendments Smith presented also included some 20 pages outlining sign requirements in the county.
Developer Coleman Whitehead spoke against such regulations.
“Twenty pages (of sign restrictions) is not going to attract much economic development and growth,” said Whitehead. “We’re trying to attract good, quality developers to the county. We can’t do that when they look at the county and say they can’t get anything through. We need to keep it tight enough to where we have what we want but let’s not tighten up so much to where we discourage good growth.”
Developer Gerry Burdette agreed with Whitehead. He said the county is falling behind neighboring counties in attracting good growth and noted that Oglethorpe County has approved far more subdivisions than Madison County in the past couple of years. He said residential growth will be accompanied by commercial development.
“Do you know how many millions (of dollars) we’ve lost because of restrictions?” Burdette asked the board. “...We are a county in crisis. We’re being left behind.”

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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.


Journal kids pic deadline set for Fri.
The annual children’s Christmas section will be published in The Madison County Journal on Wednesday, December 24. The newspapers will be accepting photographs of children ages 8 years and younger through noon, Friday, Dec. 12, to be published in the section.
The child must live in Madison County. Photos of grandchildren will be taken only if the child resides with the grandparents, and that residency should be noted.
Please submit the following information along with the child’s photo: the first and last name and age of the child, as well as the parents’ names, their city of residence and phone number. Please print clearly.
Black and white or color photos can be used, but no Polaroids or photographs printed out from a computer onto laser paper will be accepted, as they do not reprint well.
The photos may be mailed to The Journal at P.O. Box 658 Danielsville, Ga. 30633 or dropped off at The Journal office off Hwy. 29 across from the county government complex. The photos may be picked up the after the Christmas section runs in the paper. Photos may also be emailed to zach@mainstreetnews.com in a .jpeg format. Names and other information listed above should also be included.