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MARCH 31, 2004


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OPINIONS
Jackson County opinion page


SPORTS
Mixed Results
Both Tennis Teams Fall Against Towns County; Boys Get Win Last Week vs. ACS
It’s not everyday that a coach finds a silver lining in a shutout loss, but Commerce tennis coach Walt Massey saw one this past Thursday.

In need of assistance
Young Panther pitchers holding their own but need help, head coach says
Cedar Shoals 7
Jackson Co. 6
It may be hard to tell by their record, but the Jackson County baseball squad is continuing to play well against most of their opponents.

Another solid showing: Jefferson fairs well at 32-team meet
Sometimes to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. That’s the motto the Jefferson track squad is using this season, as they endure a stringent schedule full of large weekend meets.


News from
BANKS COUNTY
DFACS investigated 259 child abuse cases in 2003
Pinwheels to represent cases to be placed at courthouse April 9
In 2003, the Banks County Department of Family and Children Services investigated 259 child abuse and neglect reports and substantiated 62 incidents.

Upcoming events
Spring Fling ahead Sat. in Alto
The city of Alto is planning a “Spring Fling” to celebrate Georgia’s Cities Week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 3.


News from
MADISON COUNTY
IDA, BOC discuss nearly $1 million contract for water services to contaminated area
The county industrial development authority (IDA) met this morning (Wednesday) to approve a deal with the petroleum company for approximately $947,000 for water service to the Colbert Grove Church Road area off Hwy. 29, which the petroleum company contaminated with oil spills.

Fortson guilty...again
Second jury finds former deputy guilty of murdering Madison Co. man
Tracy Lea Fortson took the stand in her own defense during her retrial for the murder of Doug Benton last week.

Our Time and Place:
A History of
Jackson County, Ga

A complete history of Jackson County, Georgia from 1796 to the present. Written in narrative style for easy reading. Includes material not found in other books about Jackson County.

Order this book online

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RED HATTERS AT GOOD OL’ DAZE FESTIVAL

These ladies are shown at the Crawford W. Long Good Ol’ Daze Festival Saturday in Jefferson. The festivities included craft booths, such as the one the ladies are looking at, entertainment and an Irish music concert. The ladies, Evelyn Carloss, Faye Griffin, Marion Mahaffey and Sue Clary, went to the festival after attending The Royal Red Hatters lunch at The Byrd House See the weeks Jackson Herald for additional phots and story.

Arcade wants its own water, sewer service
JCWSA opposed to idea
The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority may be headed for another power struggle with the board of commissioners, this time over water service in the Arcade area.
At a meeting of county and city officials Monday night to discuss renegotiating the shared services agreement, Arcade leaders said they wanted to be cut out of the authority’s service district and given their own district to provide water and sewerage service.
But that is a move opposed by the authority, which depends on adding new customers to pay its bills, including the Bear Creek debt.
“That isn’t open territory,” said authority manager Jerry Waddell. “That is established for the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority.”
But county manager Al Crace seemed to favor the idea of chopping up the authority’s service area.
“That’s why we are here,” said Crace. “They (Arcade) want that area...We’re not at the point of extending in there any time soon. There are no firm plans.”
In a letter from authority chairman Warren Walker to BOC chairman Harold Fletcher, Walker opposed taking service area away from the authority.
“The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority has issued two revenue bonds and obtained one GEFA loan pledging our revenues from sales,” he wrote. “Any change in our service area would affect the bond documents and loan documents.
“The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority opposes any change to the Service Delivery Agreement since it would directly affect the operation of our water and sewer system.”
Authority members also fear that if one community is successful in chopping off service areas, other communities will also seek to set up water districts, thus cutting into the future growth of the county water system.
Arcade leaders have been talking about offering water and sewer service in the South Jackson town for months. At Monday’s meeting, Arcade Mayor Doug Haynie said the town has a potential developer and would like to offer its own utility services instead of relying on the county water authority.
“If a developer comes to us, we struggle,” Haynie said. “We have to go to the water authority and say, ‘Daddy, can I borrow some money.’...We don’t have the ability to control our destiny as far as development goes. We want to be able to say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ to developers.”
Haynie did not name the potential developer, or say that the authority had refused service for a potential development project.


Qualifying ahead week of April 26
It’s a major election year in Jackson County and most local seats are up for re-election.
Three of the five seats on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners will be on the ballot. They include: District 1, held by Stacey Britt; District 2, held by Sammy Thomason; and chairman, held by Harold Fletcher.
Other positions to be on the ballot, along with the current person in office, include: sheriff, Stan Evans; tax commissioner, Don Elrod; probate court judge, Margaret Deadwyler; magistrate judge, Billy Chandler; clerk of courts, Reba Parks; district attorney, Tim Madison; Superior Court judges, David Motes, Joe Booth and Robert Adamson; State Court judge, Jerry Gray; coroner, Keith Whitfield; State Court solicitor, Don Moore; surveyor, Al Venable; District 1, county board of education, Stephanie Kitchens; and District 4, county board of education, Ed Tolbert.
The two state representative seats covering Jackson County, now held by Chris Elrod, District 25, and Warren Massey, District 24, and the three senate seats, held by Brian Kemp, District 46, Ralph Hudgens, District 47, and Casey Cagle, District 49, will also be on the ballot this year.
Qualifying will be from 9 a.m. on Monday, April 26, through noon on Friday, April 30.
The election schedule for the year is as follows: July 20, primary election; Aug. 10, primary run-off; Nov. 2, general election; and Nov. 23, general run-off.
One change in how elections are handled this year is that anyone may cast a ballot during the one-week period before an election. In the past, absentee ballots were only used by those with medical or other valid reason. Now, anyone may cast a ballot during this one-week period.


Planners approve EJ subdivision
Reduce lot numbers, increase home size
A developer got a nod of approval from the Jackson County Planning Commission for his subdivision on Waterworks Road but not before several conditions were added, including reducing the number of homes in the project and increasing the size of the homes.
The planning commission recommended approval for the request from Sierra Development to rezone approximately 78 acres on Waterworks Road for a 62-lot single-family residential subdivision. The approval came with a condition that there only be 52 homes in the subdivision, 10 fewer than developer John Peck had requested. Another condition increased the home size to 1,600 square feet for one-story and 2,000 square feet for two story homes. Peck had wanted the homes to be a minimum of 1,400 square feet.
Approximately 20 people from Staghorn Subdivision, which is located across from the site, spoke in opposition to the request. Loyd Southwick spoke on behalf of the Staghorn Homeowners Association and presented a petition of names of those against the development. Staghorn resident Al Crace also submitted a list of suggested conditions, several of which were made a condition of the approval.
Also speaking in opposition to the project was Daniel Walters, who owns an exotic animal farm near the site. He asked for a buffer between his property and the subdivision, which was added as a condition.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will address the recommendation of the planning commission on this matter and those listed below at a pubic hearing on April 19, at 7 p.m., at the Administrative Building in Jefferson.
OTHER BUSINESS
In other business, the planning commission:
•approved a request from Plansouth Inc. to rezone three tracts, of approximately 32 acres, on Hwy. 98 and Old Bold Springs School Road, from A-3 and A-2 to HRC for the purpose of multi-use commercial. John Purcell spoke on the plan which includes locating a shopping and entertainment complex on the site. He said this could include a movie theater, bowling alley, skating ring, restaurants, retail stores and a grocery store. He said the development would create 75 to 100 jobs for the area.
•learned that a request from Peter and Cherry Haughton to rezone approximately four acres on Old Savage Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate two residential lots has been withdrawn.
•tabled a request from Robert Houston to rezone approximately 23 acres on Curt Roberts Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate a 23-lot, single-family residential subdivision.
•approved a request from Georgia Land and Erosion LLC to rezone approximately 31 acres on Bob Wages Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate a 31 lot single-family residential subdivision. Attorney Scott Tolbert spoke on the request and said it would be an “open space subdivision.” Donald and Lois English are the property owners.
•tabled a request from Jack and Rebecca Lindsay to rezone two lots, approximately 66 acres, on Jefferson River Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate a 31 lot single-family residential subdivision.
•approved a request from Wesley Irwin to rezone approximately one acre on Jefferson Road from B-1 to B-1 for a change of conditions. He plans to locate a retail space onto the store that is already on the site. The rezoning was originally approved for only one business to locate on the site.
•approved a request from Chad McDaniel to rezone approximately 10 acres on Brock Road from A-2 to R-1 for 10 single-family residential homes. McDaniel spoke on his request and several neighbors spoke in opposition to the request. Adjacent property owner Keith Hardy was among those speaking in opposition to the request. He asked that, if it is approved, a buffer be located between his property and the McDaniel property. Mary Ann Parks also spoke and said that the water drain off from the site will come onto his property. In his rebuttal comments, McDaniel said that he lives on the road and that the homes will be nice. He added that it is a residential growth area.
•approved a request from J&S Chastain Development LLC to rezone approximately 21 acres on Woods Bridge Road from A-1 to R-1 for the purpose of a 23-home single-family residential subdivision.
•approved a request from Phillip Waldron to rezone approximately 107 acres on W.H. Hayes Road from A-2 to R-1 to locate a 65 lot single-family residential subdivision. Waldron spoke on the request and said the project would be developed as part of the adjacent 90-acre Wood Farm Subdivision. Randy Johnson spoke and said that he is not opposed to development but he wants the new home owners to know of the agriculture use in the area. “My concern is that people understand what they’re moving next to,” he said. “We have odor, flies, dust and traffic 24 hours a day...People don’t understand agriculture. They think it is all cows, plows and greenhouses.” In his rebuttal comments, Waldron said that people who buy in the lots are doing so because they are in the country and they want that environment.
•tabled a request from Larry Titshaw to rezone approximately 19 acres on Davenport Road from R-1 to R-1 for a change in conditions.


Planners recommend land use map amendments be denied
The Jackson County Planning Commission is still reluctant to approve changes to the new land use map.
At Thursday’s meeting, the planning commission recommended that two land use map amendment requests be denied. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will take action on these requests when it meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 19, at the Administration Building in Jefferson.
At the planning meeting, a request from Brantley Porter for a land use map amendment from agricultural preservation to rural places for property located on Brockton Loop Road was unanimously denied.
Billy Norris spoke on this request and said three subdivisions located within two minutes of this subdivision are designated as rural places.
Porter proposed locating a 94-lot subdivision on the 141-acre tract of land. The plans call for all lots to be 1.5 acres or larger and the homes to be a minimum of 1,400 square feet.
Planning commission member Don Segraves made the motion to deny and said the new land use map took a long time to develop and everyone had the opportunity to see how their land was designated before it was approved.
In the other request, the planners voted 2-1 to deny a request from Billy Norris for a future land use map amendment from rural places to residential growth for property on Hwy. 129 and Potters House Road. Segraves and Joe Cook voted to deny this, while Tim Cornelison voted to approve it.
Norris also spoke on this request, which was also denied.
“I realize a lot of work went into this plan but if the planning commission is not going to allow it to be amended, I don’t even know why there is an avenue to come here and ask for it,” Norris said.
Norris’ proposal is to locate a subdivision on the 65 acres. Segraves said the road is not suitable to handle any further growth. He added that there is no need to amend the land use map if they don’t plan to approve the rezoning for the subdivision.


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Commerce, Consultant Aim to Direct City’s Growth
Commerce public officials have differing views on how the city should grow, but they’re united in believing that future developments should be held to higher standards than currently required.
That was the key information imparted Monday night to Bill Ross of Ross & Associates, the man who will likely win the job of combining all city ordinances relating to land development into some user-friendly, comprehensive document that will direct the residential and commercial development expected over the next few years.
Five members of the city council and three of the planning commission met with Ross for more than 90 minutes to provide input. Ross will bring back for the city council’s consideration a proposal to do the work. No other consulting firm is being considered.
The final product, Ross said, would combine the zoning, subdivision, erosion and sedimentation, stormwater, sign, parking, landscaping and possibly other ordinances. At the request of Greg Perry, planning commission chairman, Ross said his company could put the entire document on a CD ROM for easy access.
Among his first steps, Ross said, is to identify the items that need to be modified, those that need to be re-written and those that should be abandoned altogether.
The final document will lay out the land development process, put together all the procedures and permits needed, and provide for the administration of the process, he added.
Much of the discussion was spent discussing ways of improving the quality of new residential construction and whether the city should negotiate with developers or have strict written standards.
Ross suggested a combination of standards and incentives – all written down.
“The more we can write down the rules, ‘if you do this, we give you that’, ‘if you do this, we’ll give you another house,’” Ross said, “write it down so the developer knows up front what they have to do and what else they can do to raise the quality and get some incentives out of it.”
Austin, Texas, Ross said, has a system where a developer has a menu of quality upgrades to chose from and a scoring system that awards incentives at certain point thresholds.
“Whatever you’re thinking doesn’t count,” he said in regard to standards or incentives. “What the (written) words say is what counts.”
The meeting also showed contrasting views of growth. Perry told Ross that “We don’t want to be overwhelmed with single-family residential development.” Ward 4 Councilman Bob Sosebee largely disagreed, pointing out that the city needs those potential utility customers.
“The city overall is a service delivery business. We’ve got a water plant we just doubled in size and a sewer treatment plant we’re doubling in size and we want to improve the quality of growth, but we want to sell utilities,” he said. “It’s important to the city’s operations that we are profitable in the utility business.”
Planning commission member Joe Leffew captured the middle ground, saying that residential growth should include “the fewest number of apartments and duplexes” and “the fewest number of R-3 and R-4 and R-5 that can go in.”
Other issues members discussed included requiring certain landscaping in commercial and residential projects, the development of second-story residential housing in the central business district, the pros and cons of requiring greenspace in developments, the pros and cons of homeowners associations and the use of special tax districts for the maintenance of greenspace or common property in subdivisions.


Time change ahead Sunday
The time will change to Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, April 4.
The time change will occur at 2 a.m. when clocks are set ahead one hour.