Hoschton water towers

The City of Hoschton has a new interim city administrator.

Gary Fesperman took the oath of office for the interim position at the Hoschton City Council’s May 18 meeting.

Mayor Shannon Sell said he reached out to the Georgia Municipal Association for assistance with a city administrator/manager. He said they led him to a list of retirees who can work on an interim basis.

Sell added that Fesperman will help “organize the city” and assist the town in finding someone to fill the position permanently.

Fesperman lives in Franklin County and was city manager of Lavonia for 17 years, according to Sell.

“We are very pleased to have Gary on board. He’s already making an immediate impact on the City of Hoschton,” said Sell.

The city has been without a city administrator since the end of 2019, when former administrator Dale Hall resigned. That position was at the center of controversy throughout 2019 after the former mayor Theresa Kenerly was accused of pulling the application of a candidate for city administrator because he is black.

Former city councilman Jim Cleveland also faced criticism during that time after defending Kenerly and stating his opinions against interracial relationships.

Both Kenerly and Cleveland faced backlash and a recall election had been set. The two resigned under pressure in late 2019 before that recall election could be held.

Hall resigned around the same time as Kenerly and Cleveland.

OTHER BUSINESS

Also at its meeting, the council:

•approved a rezoning request from DCH Monebello, LLC, for 5.3 acres on Hwy. 53 near Jopena Blvd. from C-1 (neighborhood business district) to C-2 (general commercial highway oriented district).

•approved a variance request for Heritage Group Homes, LLC, for ½ acre on West Jefferson St. at White St. Developers requested a reduction in the minimum lot size from 14,520 to 10,000 sq. ft. Single-family detached lots are planned.

•approved a rezoning request from Kenneth Gary with Lexes Home, Inc., for a little over an acre on First Ave. at Oak St. Developers plan to add four townhomes on the property.

•a rezoning and variance request by Azalea Senior Village Phase II, LP, for a little over 4 acres on Jefferson Ave. at West Jefferson St. Developers plan an independent living senior community with 50 units. The variance allows a reduction in the required number of parking spaces from 1.6 to 1.25 per dwelling unit.

•tabled action on a city judge and setting court dates until the city attorney can gather more information.

•adopted a purchasing policy.

•approved a final plat for Twin Lakes planned unit development.

•approved increasing the garbage rate for new citizens to $15.50, effective immediately. This includes new senior citizen residents, who were previously charged $7 for garbage pickup. The council also tabled action that would charge all citizens $3 per cart for recycling beginning July 1.

•tabled action on a stormwater study.

•learned the mandatory insurance charge on city water (that residents could previously opt out of) is going to be removed beginning in June.

•approved road closures for the city’s spring and fall festivals and the American Street Rodders car shows (held on the third Saturday of the month through October).

•after closed session on personnel and litigation, approved preliminary plats for the Cresswind and Twin Lakes sections of the Twin Lakes planned unit development.

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