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JULY 14, 2004

Banks County

Banks County

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Kerri Testement
Adopting a cat can be rewarding
It had been years since a cat was in my home.
But after ending my years as an apartment-dweller and purchasing a new house, I felt it was finally time to have a cat again. My husband, who also enjoys cats, was just as eager to have a cat.

Angela Gary
Tricycles and blocks
“I’m right behind you. I’m catching up with you.”
I hear him yell as we round the corner. He’s on his little John Deere tricycle. I’m on my big adult tricycle.

Locals vie for ‘Wally’ in finals
Jesse Young, Danielsville, ended up with the “Wally” Saturday night at Atlanta Dragway after a tight final run against Mike Ramsey, Maysville, in the Super Pro division.

News from
Fletcher, Bell to face-off in Tues. vote
BOC chairman’s race tops local balloting bids
Seven local races up for decision
Two Jackson County political heavyweights will face-off in next Tuesday’s primary election in what has been one of the most heated political campaigns in recent years.

Jackson County school board calls for $70 million bond referendum
Approval would increase millage rate 2.25 mills
The Jackson County Board of Education voted Thursday to put a $70 million general obligation bond before voters during a September 21 referendum. The money, which will go toward new facilities and the renovation of existing school facilities, is needed to keep up with growth, said superintendent Andy Byers.

News from
It’s back!
Proposed business center at intersection of Hwy. 98, Hwy. 172 on the table again
A planned business center at the intersection of Hwy. 98 and Hwy. 72, which was shot down by commissioners in a 3-2 vote last October, is back on the table.

Danielsville to contract with county for building inspections
The Danielsville council wants to contract with the Madison County government for building inspection services for city residents.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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Developers discussed water service

Carol Lovell, Rick Wallace, project engineer, Greg Kelly and Baldwin mayor Mark Reed discussed ways the city could provide water service to a 40-lot subdivision on 36 acres located on Alto-Mud Creek Road. The area actually lies within the City of Demorest’s service delivery area, but officials have indicated to the developers that they would allow Baldwin to provide water service.

Baldwin developers seek water, sewer service
Wishing for water
Developers of a proposed 40-home subdivision on Alto-Mud Creek Road are hoping that the City of Baldwin will be able to provide water and sewer service to the first phase of a 72-acre housing project.
Greg Kelly, Carol Lovell and their project engineer Rick Wallace attended the work session last week to see if the council thought the idea was feasible.
Wallace said they had gone to the Demorest City Council for service since the acreage lies within Demorest’s water delivery system. However, he said the council had placed a moratorium on new water service.
Lovell said the council “encouraged” drilling wells or seeking other sources of water.
Baldwin city engineer Fred Hawkins said there is a possibility Baldwin could provide service, but before any agreement was made, a letter from Demorest granting Baldwin the area would be necessary.
Mayor Mark Reed was concerned about fire protection and said the existing line that would feed the development’s system would not have enough pressure or flow to handle a fire.
He told them: “We would have to upgrade to an eight-inch line to provide the necessary flow for fire protection.”
Hawkins estimated it would take around 1,200 feet of new line to reach the property and it would require going under Highway 365 to get there. He pointed out there was a bore made that was not in use which the city could use without having to go back to the department to transportation for a permit.
Lovell said the system development fees would not be a problem and that the property would annex into the city when possible. She said an annexation clause would be included in the covenants of the deeds.
Reed said: “You have to understand, we have had some political disputes with Demorest and it may be uncomfortable for us to go into their territory. We also would only be able to upgrade the lines as the money became available. There’s nothing in the budget for this scope of a project.”
He suggested they get a letter of commitment from the Demorest council members that the transfer of service would be allowed.
Kelly said: “The clock is ticking. We want to be sure we can get water from you before we go back to Demorest and ask for a letter giving their approval for this.”
Lovell asked if the payment of the impact fees could go towards the water line extension.
City manager Betty Harper told her the fees only went to the wastewater treatment system.
Hawkins said it was possible that SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) from Habersham County could be used.
There was some discussion about the developers paying for the lines and the city paying them back.
Baldwin council members made no real commitment and chose to wait until the Demorest council provided the necessary approval in writing.

Kennel, spa ordinance approved by county commissioners
The Banks County Board of Commissioners approved ordinances Tuesday night that will regulate the operation of dog kennels and spa/massage/body work businesses in the county.
The action came after the planning commission reviewed the ordinances Monday night and recommended that they be approved.
The dog kennel ordinance defines a commercial kennel and how it is to be operated. The definition includes that it be an enclosed structure and that the business generates revenue. If there are more than 12 dogs, they must be placed in a sound-proof building.
The spa/massage/body works ordinance includes regulations for these establishments, including hours of operation, which state that they must be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and all day Sundays. This new ordinance will be implemented Jan. 1.
The BOC also approved a domestic animal ordinance and an amendment to the subdivision regulations pertaining to access. Both of these were recommended for approval by the planning commission.
The domestic animal ordinance regulates that people who live in R-1 and R-2 zoning districts have no more than four adult dogs and that they be confined.
For more details on these ordinances, see the new codes which are available in the county planning and zoning office.
In other zoning business, the BOC agreed to refund the zoning application fee to Robert and Rita Evans and allow them to apply for a home occupations conditional use permit. They plan to locate a bait and tackle shop on .75 acres on Beulah Lane. They had applied for the property to be rezoned from agriculture to commercial.
At the planning commission meeting Monday night, a discussion was held on whether a conditional use permit would be more appropriate for the project. The planners agreed that it would be.
County marshal Keith Covington said that a bait shop is not listed in the zoning code as a home occupations.
“It’s not in the book,” he said. “It’s got some far worse things in there...I try to go directly by what that book says.”
Planning commission chairman Harold Ivey said: “There are thousands of businesses. There is no way to list them all...I know what you’re saying. It’s not spelled out.”
Ivey said he would not support rezoning the property to commercial
In other zoning business, the BOC agreed to refund the zoning fee to Betty Burton, who had asked for a variance for a beauty shop to be located on a vacant lot on 3.27 acres on Hwy. 326.
This request was also discussed at the planning commission meeting Monday night. Planning commission member Alicia Andrews said the request doesn’t meet the criteria for a variance. Burton plans to apply for a home occupations permit instead of the variance.
At the planning commission meeting, plats from William Mittler, for a Class III subdivision, and Roger Caudell, Class II subdivision, were approved.

Primary set Tues.
See results online
Log on to for election results on Tuesday evening.
Magistrate judge post has five on primary ballot
Five candidates will be on the ballot for Banks County’s magistrate judge post when voters go to the polls for the primary election on Tuesday.
Frankie Gardiner, Danny Lord, Ivan Mote, Luke Parson and Winford Popphan are seeking the magistrate judge’s post. Long-time magistrate judge Henry David Banks is not seeking re-election.
This is a non-partisan seat, so the candidates will be listed on both the Republican and Democrat ballot.
On the Democrat ballot, voters will have two local races. Incumbent Sheriff Charles Chapman and Doug Anderson will be on the ballot. The winner will face Republican Allen Venable in November.
In the coroner’s race, Democrats Billy Poole and John Reinke will both be on the ballot. The winner will face Republican Henry Galloway in November.
Two state races will be on the Republican ballot. James “Jim” Wiles and Michael Harden are both running for District 28 on the Georgia House of Representatives. The winner will face incumbent Jeanette Jamieson, a Democrat, in November.
In the District 50 Senate race, Chan Caudell, Nancy Schaefer and Stanley “Butch” Darnell will be on the Republican ballot. The winner will face Democrat Bob Stowe in November.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
MainStreet Newspapers plans to have election results from Banks, Jackson and Madison counties online as the numbers come in election night.
Check out for election results on Tuesday evening.

DA moves on property purchase
The Banks County Development Authority met in closed session for 30 minutes Thursday to discuss real estate and then agreed to proceed with the purchase of land in the Banks Crossing area.
When the meeting was opened to the public, Horace Campbell made a motion that the authority sign the option agreement on the property in the Banks Crossing area. The 100-acre tract is located adjacent to and behind the Banks Crossing fire station.
In other business at the meeting, authority chairman Jack Banks asked Terrence Dale and Wayne Abernathy to look into a policy on mileage reimbursement and report back to the full board.
Last month, the DA discussed whether or not to reimburse commissioner Pat Westmoreland for $50 in mileage expenses. The board did agree to reimburse Westmoreland but agreed that a policy should be in place.

Homer council approves new town hall plans Tues.
The Homer Town Council approved the architectural design for its new town hall when it met Tuesday night.
Engineer Charlie Armentrout designed the new facility with input from council members. The next step will be to finalize the layout of the interior of the building and then seek bids for the project.
In other business Tuesday, the council tabled one zoning request and approved another one. A request from Milton Galloway to rezone 3.81 acres on Evans Street from R-2 to R-1 was tabled. The request was tabled after councilman Bobby Caudell said he wants the rezoning to include covenants for the planned four-lot development. The proposed covenants include a provision that all driveways be paved. The developer said he wants to discuss this provision with his partners before the council votes on the request.
Caudell said covenants are needed so that the town doesn’t have to “referee” problems with property owners.
“Some people may read these covenants and not want to build here,” Caudell said. “But what you end up with in the end is a much better community for everyone concerned.”
On another zoning matter, the council approved a request from Chad Black and Bob Turk to rezone 28.37 acres on Evans Street from agriculture to R-1. Developer Barry Lord said the plans call for locating 23 homes on the 28 acres.
Attorney Gary Freeman said both of the proposed subdivisions would have to go before the city planning commission for plat approval.
In other business at the meeting, the council:
•approved a zero millage rate, which means that Homer will continue to have no city taxes.
•heard an update on the Thompson Street extension project from Mayor Doug Cheek. Cheek said he and county officials recently met with Georgia Department of Transportation leaders, who pledged $225,000 in state money for the project. The total cost of the project will be $1.2 million.
•heard from Mayor Cheek that a good turnout attended a recent town meeting on the proposed streetscape project. He said the town is receiving input from citizens and plans are to start work soon.
•approved to spend $87,000 to replace water line under Hwy. 51 and Hwy. 441.
•heard concerns from Hill Street and Greasy Creek Road residents about speeders on the road. The citizens said rumblers and stop signs on the road have not slowed down the speeders. The council agreed to ask the sheriff’s office for extra patrol in the area.


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Hearing ahead Thursday on Steel Horse
The Banks County Board of Commissioners has set a hearing for 9 a.m. Thursday at the courthouse on the reported violation at the Steel Horse.
Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman pulled the alcohol license at the Steel Horse early Saturday morning, July 3, following an undercover operation at the Banks Crossing business.
The license was pulled following a “male review” at the business. The county ordinance doesn’t allow nudity, regardless of whether it is partially or entirely nude, at businesses where alcohol is served.
Chapman said the sheriff’s office only has authority to shut the club down for 24 hours. He added that it was closed Saturday night. The matter is then turned over to the board of commissioners, who have 10 days to give the owner a hearing on the violation. The BOC will decide whether to pull the alcohol license.

Alto council hears pitch for 120 homes
Kim Christopher, a representative of M & R Developments, presented the Alto City Council with a potential annexation request Tuesday night for 87 acres on B.C. Grant Road for a proposed 120-home subdivision.
In the proposal, it states that the soil tests did not come out “positive” and made connection to a sewer system mandatory for the development to proceed. Being tied into a system would allow a reduction in lot size and provide 120 to 150 lots of one-half acre or more. Some 25 percent, around 20 acres, would remain as green space.
Christopher said the goal is to get sewer service from Baldwin and water service from Alto, a winning financial situation for both cities.
The council listened, but made no commitment on the speculative proposition.
Mayor Audrey Turner said a sewer system for Alto is being looked into as a future project.
Alto resident Ronnie Johns, Cook Street, said he does not favor development that has lot sizes of less than three-quarters of an acre.
“120 homes means a lot of traffic and a lot of water,” he said. “We already have problems with dirty water. How can the system handle more customers? How can the streets handle more traffic?”
City attorney Jim Acrey said the city’s current zoning would require lots of one-acre or more. The council would have to agree to a zoning variance to accommodate the development.
In other business:
•Alto resident Anthony Burdge said councilman Donald Wade had threatened him after bringing up the question of the closure of Porter Street during the June council meeting. Burdge had asked when the city was going to reopen the street and Wade told him the road was too costly to maintain and the previous mayor and council gave it back to the property owners. Burdge alleges after the meeting, Wade told him he would call the EPD on him if he caught him burning again because Burdge brought up the street. Wade said he did not recall making a threatening remark, but did remember telling Burdge he would call the EPD if he saw Burdge burning illegally. Burdge lives in the Banks County area of Alto, which is under the state’s burn ban, said Wade.
•the council tabled requests for package sales of beer at Alto Grocery, Inc. and Alto Food Mart since the owners were not present at the meeting. The Rev. Sanford Kimbrell, Baldwin Congregational Holiness Church, said he did not think it was good for the town.
•Turner said the council should have a draft of the abatement ordinance for public discussion by the August 10 meeting, which made activist Margaret Beaupre smile. She has been hounding the council to clean up the town for four years.
•Baldwin councilman Ray Holcomb was at the meeting and invited the Alto council members to attend one of Baldwin’s meetings or work sessions. He added: “I have to defend the mayor and council. If you haven’t been in this situation, you don’t know what it’s like. It’s a difficult, thankless job.”