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Angie Gary / Photos by Angela Gary 

Banks County Primary School second graders in Crystal Carlan's class sang Christmas carols at the Chamber of Commerce CVB breakfast meeting on Dec. 10. Music teacher, Mary Manning, is shown leading the students.

BOC denies rezoning for apartments at Banks Crossing

A rezoning request to locate a 360-unit apartment complex at Banks Crossing, on 42 acres near the industrial park, was unanimously denied Tuesday night by the Banks County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Sammy Reece made the motion to deny the request to rezone the property from C2 (general commercial) to R2 (multi-family housing). Commissioner Charles Turk seconded the motion. BOC chairman Jimmy Hooper and commissioners David Duckett and Danny Maxwell also voted to deny the motion.

The Banks County Planning Commission had recommended that the rezoning be denied.

Prior to the vote, six Banks County residents spoke in favor of the request being denied. Among their reasons were the impact on the school system with the additional children the apartment complex would bring to the county and the increased traffic at Banks Crossing.

“Traffic at Banks Crossing is already a disaster,” Chris Ausburn said. “Banks County is not ready for this development. It would be an explosion. I encourage you to say ‘no.’”

Bo Garrison, who served 24 years on the Banks County Board of Education, said the apartment complex would be “devastating to the school system.”

“We are also not ready for it infrastructure-wise,” he said.

Jack Banks questioned whether the apartment complex would lead Banks County to being a “bedroom community for the City of Commerce.”

He also suggested a moratorium on apartments developments until leaders see the impact of one that was approved earlier.

Mark Walton spoke on behalf of Green River Builders and presented five people who spoke on the need of these type of apartments in Banks County. Walton said the $42 million project would be developed in three phases and would include 36 one-bedroom apartments, 308 two-bedroom apartments and 16 three-bedroom apartments.

The City of Baldwin hosted its annual Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 14. Shown are: (front) Sierra Sparks, 3, Makaenna Johnson, 8, (back) Santiago Sparks, 8, and Sofia Sparks, 10. This was Sierra Sparks’ first parade she has ever attended.

Alto approves alcohol ordinance

The Town of Alto council approved an alcoholic beverage ordinance amendment, at its Dec. 10 meeting, that will establish new hours for the package sale of malt beverages.

Retail sales, and wholesale deal sales of malt beverages or wine or both, are permitted except between the hours of 7 a.m. and 12 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays. No Sunday sales are permitted. No malt beverages or wine shall be sold on Christmas or during the hours of an election on Election Day.

Councilman Eddie Palmer abstained from voting on this issue.


In other business at the monthly meeting, the council:

•approved the adoption of the third party inspection ordinance.

•held the first reading of the ordinance to repeal the residential rental registration ordinance previously approved by the council. Building inspector Joe Davidson said the rental registration ordinance was a violation of rights and went against state law. The council previously adopted a rental safety ordinance instead of the rental registration ordinance.

•heard from Mayor Audrey Turner that an issue came up about the location of fire hydrants when a fire was reported on West Coker Road. She said town staff members were working with Banks County fire officials on the location of fire hydrants on the Banks County side of the town.

•received the following monthly police report for November: 73 calls from dispatch – 21 in Banks County and 52 in Habersham County; nine agency assists; 139 officer generated calls; 174 community contacts; 39 traffic stops; three safety checks; 26 citations issued; three arrests made; 2,108 miles patrolled; and 24,537 GCIC histories.


At the work session, prior to the council meeting, the council discussed bids received on upgrading the underground fuel tanks at the police department. The council agreed to seek additional information on this issue before any decision is made. The town would need to have firm commitments from other agencies to purchase fuel from the town in order to recoup the charges for this project.

Early deadlines in place for Dec. 25, Jan. 1 issues

Early deadlines will be in place for the Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 issues of The Banks County  News.

The news deadline will be at noon on  Friday, Dec. 20, and on Friday, Dec. 27.

The deadline for classified and display ads will also be at noon on those Fridays.

The early deadlines are due to the Christmas holiday and New Year’s Day holiday.

The newspapers those weeks will be delivered one day ahead of the regular schedule and will be at news stands early.

Planning commission to meet Jan. 7

The Banks County Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, in the board room at the Banks County Courthouse Annex at 150 Hudson Ridge, to make recommendations on the following requests:

•Capstone Acquisitions to rezone the property on East Ridgeway Road and Faulkner Road from C2 (Commercial District) to R2 (Multifamily District).

•Martin Bridge Properties to rezone property on Highway 59 from ARR (Agricultural Rural Residential) to M1 (Industrial).

•Hillpointe to rezone the property from M1 (Industrial) to R2 (Multifamily District).

The Banks County Commissioners will consider the recommendations of the planning commission at a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the Banks County Courthouse Annex at 150 Hudson Ridge.