News from Jackson County...

DECEMBER 8, 2004

Jackson County

Jackson County
Jackson County

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Dragons to continue stringent non-region schedule Friday
Trip to No. 1 ranked Whitefield set for Friday; seven-day layoff to follow
By the time the Jefferson boys basketball team begins postseason play, it’s safe to say the No. 6 Dragons will have seen the best Class A has to offer.

Lady Panthers let lead slip away at Hart Co.
Unfortunately for Jackson County there are no consolation prizes in basketball.
Despite leading for three of the four quarters of play on Saturday at Hart County, the Lady Panthers were handed their fifth loss of the season, and the team's third in a row.

Cheer Tigers Overcome Injuries, Win Weekend Meet
A short-handed Commerce competitive cheerleading team was still steady-handed enough to earn a victory this past weekend, tallying 211 points to get a win over Greater Atlanta Christian at a meet held at Woodstock.

News from
New Banks County jail open for business
Anyone needing to fill out an incident report, report an accident or speak to an officer with the Banks County Sheriff’s Office should now go to the new Banks County jail, located on Thompson Street across the new Hwy. 441 bypass.

Holiday open house planned in Gillsville
Friends of Gillsville and the City of Gillsville invite all area residents to a holiday open house.

News from
475-home subdivision in the works?
Major residential development proposed for Colbert Grove Church Road, Johnny McElroy Road
A 475-home subdivision could be in the works for 400.12 acres on Colbert Grove Church Road and Johnny McLeroy Road.

The Proposal:
Here is the actual proposal submitted by the applicants to the Madison County Planning and Zoning Department:
“Star Home Builders proposes to construct a subdivision on 400 acres of property on Colbert Grove Church Road in Madison County, and requests rezoning of the property from A-1 (agricultural) to R-1, Planned Unit Development (PUD).
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233
Fax: (706) 367-8056


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MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
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The 1,320 acres once known as 4W Farm in South Jackson may be the future site of 2,440 housing units for some 6,000 new residents. The acreage, which currently stretches out in pastureland, is located on the right of Hwy. 129 south of Arcade, just before the Redstone community. The developers, Brand Partners LP of Gwinnett County, want to annex the land into Arcade for the $543 million project.

2,440-home community being pitched for Arcade
Mega-development would be county’s largest project
A high-density housing planned community in Arcade is being pitched to area government leaders for comments by the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center. And action on the plan could come as soon as Dec. 21 when an annexation and rezoning request is slated to go before the Quad Cities Planning Commission.
If approved as outlined, the project would be the largest single development in the county’s history and would add some 6,000 new residents.
The mega-development calls for 2,440 housing units and 400,000 sq. ft. of commercial space on 1,320 acres known as the 4W Farm, just south of Arcade. The developers, Brand Partners LP of Gwinnett County, want to annex the land into Arcade for the $543 million project.
Currently, the land is in unincorporated Jackson County and is designated with a “Rural Places” label on the county’s future land use plan. That designation calls for low-density development for the property. It is currently zoned A-2 in the county.
The developers reportedly want to annex into Arcade to remove the property from that low-density designation and have the city designate the land for high-density development as a Planned Community Development (PCD). The price rage of the houses is said to be from the mid-$100,000 to $300,000 range.
The RDC sent out a draft of the project in late November to area governments for comment as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI). The RDC will take comments through Friday and a review of the project is slated to be completed by Dec. 23. If the DRI isn’t finished by the rezoning hearing on Dec. 21, that meeting will be postponed.
In the DRI request for comments, the project is said to include 2,215 single family detached homes, 100 attached townhouses and 125 “active adult” units. In addition, the project calls for 406,000 sq. ft. of commercial and office space facing Hwy. 129. A golf course is also slated for the project.
The project also says that space in the commercial district would be dedicated for a new Arcade City Hall. The time frame for completing the project is said to be 10-20 years.
The proposal estimates that the housing will accommodate approximately 6,000 new residents and generate $656,000 in annual property taxes and $1.75 million in sales taxes. The total build-out value of the project is estimated to be $543 million.
The impact of the project on various infrastructure is also outlined in the DRI report. Peak hour traffic volume is estimated to be 2,450 trips affecting mostly Hwy. 129 and Holiday Cemetery Road.
The development will also create about 600,000 gallons per day of wastewater that will be treated with an on-site wastewater treatment plant. The treated effluent will be used for golf course irrigation.
The DRI also states that the project will need 600,000 gallons per day of treated water and that it would have an on-site water system. However, the need for water for the project has been a hot topic in recent weeks between the City of Arcade and the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority.
The development is also projected to create 1,849 tons of solid waste per year.
Estimates for the project indicate that it will have 1,000 school-aged children. The DRI says that the long-term phasing of the project “should allow for increased coordination between the board of education and the local government to mitigate congestion issues that may arise.”

Talmo residents complain about smells from plant
Residents near a controversial new business in Talmo have been complaining about “horrible smells” supposedly coming from the operation.
Mayor Larry Joe Wood told the council Tuesday that he has received numerous phone calls from residents in the Cedar Hollow subdivision about offensive odors coming from Agri-Cycle, located in the former Valley Fresh plant. The subdivision is located outside the city limits.
Wood said he has advised residents to contact the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) if they report such smells. Agri-Cycle is a plant nursery that uses a process with chicken waste to fertilize plants. In an interview last month with The Jackson Herald, the company’s president, Richard Harville, denied allegations from city and county leaders that Agri-Cycle hasn’t been truthful about its operations – including hauling septic tank waste to the plant.
Agri-Cycle has a permit from the EPD and a business license to operate in Jackson County. Valley Fresh once processed chicken waste at the plant.
“It just don’t smell like it used to,” said council member Dana Woods, who lives near the plant.
In other business, the Talmo City Council:

of city hall has been delayed, due to weather and the
city not receiving the last shipment of equipment for
a basketball goal and merry-go-round. The council also
discussed the possibility of placing a fence around
the playground to prevent children from playing on the
nearby railroad tracks.

Choral, band Christmas concerts are coming up
The Jackson County choral and band students will present their Christmas concerts in the next few days.
The Jackson County Comprehen-sive and East and West Jackson middle school chorus members will present concerts Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11. The JCCHS bands will perform a concert Monday, December 13.
Choral students will be accompanied by 22 professional musicians from the DeKalb County Symphony, Augusta Symphony, Carroll County Symphony and Gainesville Symphony for their Dec. 10 and 11 concerts.
Tickets are $6 for the 7 p.m. concerts at the J.L. McMullan Auditorium at the high school Call Todd Chandler at 367-5003, extension 269, for tickets.
“The two middle schools will perform pieces individually as well as a combined piece, ‘The Many Moods of Christmas Suite I,’ with the high school,” said Chandler. “We will also have a sing-along conducted by Chris Strickland and Linda Moon accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra. The high school will perform ‘The Many Moods of Christmas Suites I, II, III, and IV. We’re going to have approximately 360 kids singing on stage along with the orchestra to close out the concert. It’s going to be powerful.”
The JCCHS bands will present a Christmas concert on Monday, December 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the J.L. McMullan Auditorium at JCCHS. The concert band, symphonic band and wind ensemble will perform a variety of marches, standard wind band literature and traditional holiday favorites.
A special highlight will be senior clarinetist and All-State Band member Franziska Brunner performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto accompanied by the JCCHS Wind Ensemble.
Admission to the concert is free and the public is invited to attend. For more information, contact Miles or Helen Adams at 367-5003, ext. 268.

Business license hearing heats up in Arcade
C&S Automotive business license renewed
An Arcade administrative hearing Monday night sparked a heated exchange between a local attorney and city council members that threatened to overshadow the intial matter at hand.
At issue was the business license of a local automotive repair shop on Rock Forge Rd., of which at least 10 complaints have been filed in the past year.
Among the complaints the repair shop’s owner, Joseph Cowart, has had to deal with in the past months include alleged noise violations; charges that he drove a car his business repaired with knowledge that the automobile was uninsured; storage of cars on the business’ property in violation of the conditions in his business license; a report of an alleged theft of a car that occurred while the vehicle was being repaired at Cowart’s shop; and an alleged instance of indecent exposure involving a man authorities say was urinating in public on the property.
City council members heard from several witnesses, as well as oral arguments from Cowart’s attorney, Donna Sikes, and city attorney John McArthur.
In the end, a 2005 business license was unanimously approved for Cowart’s shop, C&S Automotive, with a condition that he would work toward a solution with the council regarding the unsightly cars allegedly parked outside his business for extended periods of time.
During the lengthy hearing, Sikes argued that the city should not be counseling Cowart on how to run his business. At one point, Sikes advised him not to answer questions from McArthur and city council members because, she said, he did not violate any city ordinances.
Instead, she said the hearing was an instance of her client being singled out and unjustly forced to hire legal representation in order to defend himself.
“It’s nothing more than harassment,” Sikes told the council. “If it happens again, you can expect to see yourself on the other side of a lawsuit.”
Earlier in the hearing Sikes also stated that Cowart had done what he could to deal with cars that sometimes have to be stored on his property while they await repair. She added that some cars are moved inside the shop overnight, but that others are forced to remain outside the shop because of a lack of storage space inside.
“Anyone who runs an automotive repair business must take cars in,” she said. “Sometimes, they get them and have to order parts. That is not a storage situation Mr. Smith,” she said, responding to an earlier comment by council member Ron Smith regarding the cars that are left outside.
Smith was referring to vehicles that were alleged to have been parked outside the business for extended periods of time beyond the reasonable time it takes to repair them. He said that during an earlier meeting granting Cowart a business license in July of 2003, he had agreed not to have any “junk cars” stored outside on the property.
However, according to a transcript of a July 2003 meeting read by McArthur, the verbal agreement was that no cars would be stored overnight. The transcript did not specify “junk” cars.
Cowart stated that the cars in question, of which surveillance photographs were presented by McArthur, were vehicles whose owners had parked and locked them without leaving a key or any contact information. They were not junk cars in Cowart’s opinion. He added that the cars were parked on his business’ premises for several months only because he had no way to move them or to contact their owners.
Also during the meeting, Sikes implied that the council was looking past similar instances of parked cars overnight that she said occur commonly at other businesses in Arcade.
“...I certainly hope we’re not singling out Mr. Cowart’s business,” she said.
Despite renewing Cowart’s license, several council members took offense to comments made by Sikes regarding the alleged motives of city officials.
Sikes implied that the Arcade Police Department constantly harasses drivers by issuing citations in order to fund different projects within the city and said that if they spent less time doing so, they would have more time to look into other matters.
She also referred specifically to the addition and renovation project of city hall as one such project being funded by such actions.
In addition, Sikes stated that most of her requests to the city for information prior to the hearing were not provided.
Some council members admitted that it appeared some of the complaints against Cowart were likely of a “vicious nature” and unwarranted. Mayor Doug Haynie stated that he felt there were misunderstandings on both sides and he apologized for those that were the city’s doing.
“I want to think that Arcade is business friendly,” Haynie said. “...I think a great misunderstanding is that we came here with our minds made up — we did not. We wish you well,” he said to Cowart.
Council member Cindy Bone was the first to speak in favor of Cowart retaining his license.
“Personally, I’m all right with letting him keep his license,” she said, adding that she thought the hearing was to deal specifically with the alleged noise violations. But following the vote to renew Cowart’s license, she stated that she took offense to comments made by Sikes about the council’s intentions as a whole.
Prior to the council’s vote, another large portion of the hearing centered around an incident when an apparent acquaintance of Cowart’s was arrested and charged with indecent exposure for public urination outside the repair shop. The suspect was also intoxicated, according to police.
The most heated exchange of the evening was between Sikes and council member Polly Davis after Sikes referred to local newspaper reports she said questioned the council’s motives.
Davis then quipped, “Don’t believe everything you read in the paper.”
Smith and Davis also said they felt the verbal agreement they initially made with Cowart had been broken.
“Agreements made in open session don’t mean nothing. That’s what I heard tonight,” Smith said.
“That’s what I heard,” Davis then added in agreement.
Councilman Dean Bentley was not in attendance at the hearing.

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Isakson speaks at courthouse dedication Wed.
Commends county officials on facility
While its doors have been open to the public for months, the new Jackson County courthouse was officially dedicated on Wednesday morning.
And despite the arrival of U.S. Senator-elect Johnny Isakson, the event was relatively low-key. Mostly courthouse employees and a handful of county officials attended the brief ceremony.
Isakson — who is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives — took the opportunity to not only talk about federal intelligence and immigration reform efforts, but also to speak about his connection to Jackson County.
The Republican said he would drive past the old courthouse in downtown Jefferson as he drove to the University of Georgia, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1966.
The difference between the two judicial facilities is a matter of “night and day,” he said. Isakson added that the old courthouse could probably fit within the three-story atrium of the new courthouse.
But, he also commended the board of commissioners for “taking the county forward” with a new courthouse. The nearly $30 million facility has been at the center of political controversy since it was proposed at the Darnell Road (now part of Jackson Parkway) site in early 2002.
Isakson called the facility a “21st century courthouse for a 21st century county.”
“You’ve got the chance to meet the demands of growth,” he said about the facility.
BOC chairman Harold Fletcher also said the new courthouse has “amble room for expansion.” The courthouse has 124,000 square-feet of space.
“The purpose of this facility is to serve the needs of Jackson County,” he said.
Fletcher said a new courthouse has been needed for 50 years and the commissioners had the “courage and determination to provide for this new facility.”
He also thanked a range of other key players for the new courthouse — from judges and bond attorneys, to contractors and the architect, and county manager Al Crace for “cracking the whip” on the project.
“There are a lot of us that have been looking forward to this for a while,” Fletcher said.
Isakson also said Jackson County is an “important county” because of its growth potential along I-85.
And Jackson County is home to some of his friends, Isakson said. He added that he planned to visit Jefferson High School teacher Jack Keen following the ceremony.

Flu vaccine still available at health dept.
Health departments in the 10-county Athens area still have flu vaccine available for young children, as well as high-risk adults.
Children ages six to 23 months are considered to be at high risk for flu complications, according to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine is also available for children ages 2 and over who have chronic conditions, such as asthma.
Health departments also remind the community that a limited amount of flu vaccine is available for adults who are at high risk for flu complications.
“We still have vaccine left for high-risk people, and we hope to receive more in the coming weeks,” said Glenda Durance, Jackson County Health Department nurse manager. “If you are at high risk for flu complications and have not received a flu shot, please come to the health department. We do not anticipate a long wait for people who come in for the flu shot.”
Flu shots are available at area health departments for $18, which is covered by Medicare insurance. The vaccine will be reserved for people who are at the highest risk for serious flu complications, following CDC guidelines: People ages 65 or older; children ages six to 23 months; adults and children with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, asthma, cancer or HIV/AIDS; women who will be pregnant during flu season; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; Children ages six months to 18 years who are on chronic aspirin therapy; healthcare workers involved in direct patient care; and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under age six months.
A limited amount of flu vaccine is available at health departments in Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton counties.
A limited amount of FluMist, a live virus intranasal vaccine, is also available at the Jefferson clinic of the Jackson County Health Department, and at health departments in Barrow, Clarke, Morgan, Oconee and Walton counties. FluMist is for healthy people ages 5 to 49 and is a choice for healthcare workers, daycare workers, and household contacts of children under age six months.
For more information, contact the local health department, or call the Public Health Information Line at 1-800-4PD-HELP. The latest flu vaccine information is also posted online at
The Jackson Herald
Jefferson, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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