The Banks County News
December 8, 1999
officials ready for 2000
Doomsayers have been predicting
for years that Dec. 31 will bring power failures, bank crisis
and all sorts of problems. When the clock strikes midnight, no
one is sure what will happen. But Banks County officials say
they are prepared for the arrival of the year 2000.
County leaders say there will be no need to worry about the loss
of water or gas services or about getting through to a 911 operator.
It won't be known for several weeks whether they are right or
not, but it sounds like they have done all they can to prepare
for the arrival of the year 2000.
The county computers have been upgraded to handle the roll over
and officials will be on hand that night to assure there are
no problems. It has been a huge task to make these changes but
our officials have handled them well.
Young faces were flush with excitement Sunday night in Homer
as they sang Christmas songs on the joy of the season. They were
also bright with excitement when Santa Claus arrived for a visit.
Similar Christmas celebrations were held in Baldwin and Maysville
last weekend and one is coming up in Alto. Our leaders have plenty
of pressing city needs on their agendas, along with full-time
jobs for most, and they still took time to plan these gatherings.
It is good to see such togetherness and community planning this
holiday season. Thanks to all who worked to plan these celebrations.
It is good to come together in peace and harmony instead of the
conflict and turmoil that cities often deal with as they plan
for the future.
By Adam Fouche
December 8, 1999
not ready for PUD, planners say
BY ADAM FOUCHE
Though planned unit developments (PUD) may be in the county's
long-term future, the Banks County Planning and Zoning Commission
attempted to keep PUDs out of the near future by voting not to
recommend their approval.
While in the process of revising the county's zoning ordinances,
PUDs were proposed and the commission's lawyer drew up an ordinance
concerning them. PUDs allow for different types of developments
to be constructed in one area.
"It gives a county the flexibility to put some type of developments
into an area where it wouldn't traditionally be put because of
zoning," attorney Randall Frost told the board.
Commission chairman Harold Ivey explained the PUD ordinance would
allow apartments, houses, convenience stores and other structures
to be built on the same parcel of land.
However, concerns of lot size and density caused the commission
to view PUDs unfavorably. The availability of water and sewerage
was also a concern.
"We don't want this to become Gwinnett County," board
member Barbara Poole said. "I don't think Banks County is
ready for this. We don't have the proper sewage or water."
Ivey said: "A PUD, if written for the benefit of everyone
in the county, is a good thing."
The Banks County Board of Commissioners will have the final say-so
on the matter at its meeting next Tuesday.
The planners also gave their lawyer permission to draft ordinances
for the following:
·setting the minimum lot size for a commercial-agricultural
development (CAD) zoning tract at 35 acres. The ordinance would
allow contiguous neighbors to join the sizes of their land to
obtain the minimum acreage to rezone all the property.
·allowing a provision to the setback for a chicken house
on a CAD. The provision states a property owner would waive his
right to a 400-foot setback from a chicken house if he builds
a dwelling within 200 feet of his property line adjacent to a
CAD. Under the current ordinances, farmers must move their chicken
houses if a dwelling is built within 400 feet of one.
·allowing a farmer to build one residence on his property
for a caretaker or employee of his farm. The ordinance would
allow farmers to place one conditional use structure per five
acres of his land.
·changing the setbacks from 10 feet to 30 feet for all
zoning districts except commercial and industrial.
·changing the setbacks for cellular towers to equal the
height of the towers. Under the ordinance, a tower would be set
back from the property line a distance equal to the height of
The Banks County News
December 8, 1999
County joins together
to combat problems
I attended my first Banks County Family
Connection meeting last week and I'm glad to report help is on
At this moment, there is no game plan to tackle the issue of
school completion and strong families, but there are meetings
scheduled to come up with the plans. The state legislature has
designated $25,000 to plan the program. The county will reapply
next year for additional funds to implement the program.
One of the strongest assets of Family Connection is the membership.
There are representatives from the health department, family
and children's services, mental health, the school system, senior
center, public safety and government, just to name a few. I believe
this group of people is attuned to the problems in the county
and the resources available to combat them.
Personally, I wanted to tackle the problem of children missing
more than 10 days of school annually. I believe Family Connection
will help to achieve that goal and more through school completion.
If is a fact that the students who are missing a lot of days
in the early years are the ones most likely to drop out of high
So it is up to us to find a way to make those children want to
come to school, to learn and become healthy members of society.
Family Connection also agreed to target strong families. One
of the goals in this category is to increase the percentage of
stable new families and reduce the percentage of teenage pregnancies.
When citizens were asked to fill out a survey stating what they
believed to be the "greatest challenges" in the county,
teen pregnancy ranked third. Alcohol/illegal drug use and school
dropouts ranked first and second. I truly believed that was a
"preconceived notion" until I read the statistics.
During 1996-97, we topped the state average in the number of
children born to unwed mothers age 15 to 17. Banks County had
39.4 percent per 1,000 while the state average was 34.8 percent.
Some of the most staggering statistics I saw were the number
of children and senior citizens who live in poverty. Almost one-sixth
of children age 5 to 17 live in poverty, while more than 25 percent
of senior adults 65 and over live below the poverty level. Those
numbers are several years old and I would hope they have decreased
somewhat with the efforts of Generous Hearts.
While the members of Family Connection have a long road ahead
of them, it is also a challenge with an outcome that could benefit
most everyone who lives in Banks County.
Sherry Lewis is news editor of The Banks County News.
Osteoporosis testing planned
Osteoporosis testing will be held at the
Banks County Senior Citizen's Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday,
Leaders say those who would like to be tested need a doctor's
order to do so and the reports will be sent to the physicians
for a treatment plan.
For more information, call the senior center at 677-3275.