Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Watkinsville Voters Approve Sunday Sales By Big Margins

Low Turnout

Watkinsville voters overwhelmingly approved the Sunday sales of alcoholic drinks in the city’s restaurants and the Sunday sales of beer and wine in the city’s convenience stores in voting in the special election that ended today (Tuesday).

Vote turnout was low, but the margins in favor of Sunday sales in the city were even higher than they were when county voters approved Sunday sales last November.

Of Watkinsville voters who live in the City Hall precinct, 82.1 percent approved of Sunday sales by the drink and 77.1 percent approved Sunday package sales.

For the smaller Annex precinct, 91.3 percent of the Watkinsville voters approved Sunday sales by the drink and 87.0 percent approved Sunday package sales.

For the two precincts combined, 84.4 percent of the 186 voters who cast a ballot approved of Sunday sales by the drink, and 79.6 percent approved Sunday package sales.

County Votes In November

In the county-wide vote on Nov. 8, 68.2 percent of the electorate approved of the Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages by the drink, and the same percent approved of Sunday sales in the county’s convenience stores and groceries.

City Hall Precinct

Those November voters authorized the county Board of Commissioners to change the county’s alcohol ordinance to allow for Sunday sales, and the Commissioners did that shortly after the vote, meaning Sunday sales in the county have been possible since early December.

The county’s ordinance does not apply to the county’s four cities, and the Watkinsville vote today (Tuesday) will allow the Watkinsville City Council to change its ordinance to allow for Sunday Sales.

The Council has said it will meet quickly to make that change.

The county’s other three cities–Bishop, Bogart and North High Shoals–do not have restaurants, and Bogart, which alone among the three has a convenience store, has not put Sunday sales on the ballot.


Watkinsville has 2,117 registered voters, but only 1,830 of those are active.

The 186 votes cast today and in early voting account for only 10.2 percent of active voters.

Of those 186 ballots, 140 were cast in City Hall precinct and 40 were cast in Annex precinct.

A total of 61 votes were cast in the three weeks of early voting, and 1 vote was cast by mail.

The vote totals for the 186 ballots remain unofficial until they are certified later this week.

2015 Vote

Watkinsville held its own special election in 2015 on the sale of liquor by the drink in city restaurants following approval in November of 2014 of liquor by the drink in the county.

Only 265 voters cast a ballot in that 2015 election, representing 15.1 percent of the 1,759 registered voters. Positive votes were cast by 216 of those voters, or 81.5 percent.

In the county vote in November of 2014, 64.5 percent of the voters had approved of liquor by the drink.

Pat Hayes, chair of the Oconee County Board of Elections and Registration, told me tonight that the cost of the special election held today–which will be billed to the city–will be about $3,000.

NOTE: Fran Davis, elections administrative assistant, told me in an email on 3/23/17 that no early voter had been disqualified, as I wrote in the original post. One person did submit an absentee ballot request that was denied because the person was not a city resident. The voting count I had been given at the end of early voting was simply off by 1 but not because of a "disqualification."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Oconee County Republican Party Has New Slate Of Officers Following Saturday Convention

52 Attended

Oconee County’s Republican Party got a whole new slate of officers in elections held yesterday (Saturday) at the Thomas Cotton Gin on SR15 south of Watkinsville.

Tammy Gilland was elected chair, Ed Perkins was elected first vice chair, Marcus Wiedower was elected second vice chair, and Brooks Fletcher was elected third vice chair.

Construction On Oconee County Presbyterian Village Likely To Start This Summer, County Told


Construction on the Presbyterian Village at U.S. 441 north of Watkinsville likely will begin this summer, Frank Pittman from Williams and Associates told the Oconee County Development Review Committee on Friday morning.

Work will begin with the Village Health Services Center and the Independent Living Apartment Building, Pittman, chief operating officer at Williams and Associates, said.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Turnout Light In Early Voting For Watkinsville Special Election On Sunday Alcohol Sales

63 Ballots Cast

Only 63 of Watkinsville’s 2,117 eligible voters have participated in the three weeks of early voting leading up to Tuesday’s election on whether Sunday sales of alcohol should be allowed at the city’s restaurants and convenience stores.

The turnout of less than 3 percent of the city’s voters so far suggests that only a small number of the city’s voters will decide the issue.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Plans for Presbyterian Village North Of Watkinsville On Agenda Of Oconee County Development Review Committee

Continuing Care Retirement Community

Nearly two years after getting zoning approval, Presbyterian Homes of Georgia has preliminary site plans for its continuing care retirement community at U.S. 441 and Hog Mountain Road before the county’s Development Review Committee.

The plans to be reviewed by the Committee at its 9 a.m. meeting tomorrow (Friday) include a Village Health Services Center, an independent living apartment building, 113 single-family cottages, and 13 two-family villas.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Different Views Begin To Surface In Citizen Committee Discussion Of Oconee County Comprehensive Plan Update

More Discussion Promised

At its first meeting last month, the members of the citizen committee working on the Oconee County comprehensive plan update asked for more opportunity to speak, and they were given a bit of a chance to do that last (Tuesday) night.

The discussion revealed significant differences within the group, with some arguing for development throughout the county, including in the largely rural south.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Alexion Not Yet Signed Agreement With Oconee County For Purchase Of Land At Gateway Business Park

Maybe Late Summer

Oconee County has not yet received a signed contract back from Alexion Pharma LLC of New Haven, Conn., for the sale of 38 acres in its Gateway Technology Business Park south of Bogart.

J.R. Charles, Oconee County economic development director, said he is not expecting a decision until late summer.