Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oconee SPLOST Decisions Now Before Commissioners


The Oconee County Board of Commissioners has three meetings in the next two weeks that should shape the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) voters will be asked to approve when they go to the polls for a special election in March of 2009.

The Board has scheduled a work session to start at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday to talk about SPLOST and expansion of wastewater treatment capacity in the county.

On Nov. 25 at the Board’s regular agenda setting session, it is expected to select the projects that will be covered by funding from the one cent on a dollar sales tax, should it be approved by voters in 2009. That meeting starts at 7 p.m.

At the regular meeting on Dec. 2, the Board is expected to approve the SPLOST itself, sending it forward for ultimate approval or rejection by voters next year. That meeting also starts at 7 p.m.

At the election in March voters will be asked to continue the extra one cent sales tax per dollar for projects the Board selects for funding. The tax will expire at the end of six years or when the county collects $40 million in tax revenue.

Citizens in Oconee currently pay four cents on the dollar for the state’s sales tax and three additional cents on the dollar in local taxes. One of those local pennies goes to the schools, and the other two go to the county government. The school tax and the SPLOST–one of the two pennies that go to county government--expire unless citizens vote to extend them.

Oconee County voters approved the five-year educational sales tax in July of 2006.

The current SPLOST was approved in November of 2003 and will expire either when the county collects $25 million in tax revenue or at the end of November of 2009. Jeff Benko, county finance director, told me in a telephone conversation on Nov. 14 that he expects the county to reach its $25 goal two months before the November 2009 deadline.

According to Benko, the county had collected $20.4 million by the end of October of this year.

If voters do not approve the new SPLOST in March, the sales tax in the county will drop to 6 percent at the end of November of 2009 or when the county reaches the $25 million goal.

The Board’s decision on Dec. 2 on the SPLOST will be at the culmination of a series of meetings that began on Dec. 7, 2007, when the Board met without proper legal notification in Madison to discuss SPLOST and a variety of other issues, including expansion of the Rocky Branch sewage treatment plant and the beer and wine ordinance approved earlier this year.

The Board also met for a day-long session on Sept. 25 to discuss SPLOST and other issues. At its agenda-setting meeting on Sept. 30, the Board agreed to a timetable for action on the SPLOST that included public hearings on Oct. 21 and Nov. 3.

The meeting this coming Thursday was not included in that timetable and was announced only Nov. 14.

At the two public hearings, county officials indicated that $5.7 million of the anticipated $40 million in SPLOST funds will go to Watkinsville, Bishop, Bogart and North High Shoals. Under the new rules, the cities in the county must be given a share of the revenue--based on population size--if the SPLOST is extended to six years, as is the plan for the new tax.

Of the remaining $34.3 million, $6 million is preliminarily earmarked for Parks and Recreation, most of that to pay down debt for the county’s new park on Hog Mountain Road, $6 million is to go to the Sheriff’s office to make payments on the new jail, $7.2 million is to go to the PublicWorks Department for routine road projects, and $7.2 million is to go to the Utility Department to pay for routine water and sewage projects.

If the BOC approves these figures, it would be a continuation of the current level of funding from the existing SPLOST for Parks and Recreation, the Sheriff, Public Works and the Utility Department.

If the SPLOST is not approved, the county will have to cover these costs from the other one cent in sales tax and from other sources, such as property taxes.

If the county collects about $5 million per year, as it has done over the last five years, it would collect only $30 million over the next six. The $40 million figure assumes the average for the next six years will be $6.7 million.

If the county reaches the $40 million figure, and the "commitments" and the funds allocated to the cities are subtracted from the $40 million figure, $7.9 million would remain to be allocated by the Board. The Board also will have to decide what to do if the $40 million is not reached.

At the two public meetings, Parks and Recreation Department asked for an additional $4 million above the current $6 million for a variety of projects including softball fields at the new park, the Sheriff asked for an additional $3.5 million for an upgrade to the county’s radio system, Public works asked for an additional $7.8 million for transportation infrastructure needs, and the Utility Department asked for an additional $12.8 million for a variety of projects, including at the sewage plant.

On top of that, the Emergency Management Services asked for $.75 million for an early warning siren system for the county and the Fire Department asked for $4.9 million for new stations and trucks.

After the department heads made their pitches, citizens were given a chance at the Oct. 21 and Nov. 3 meetings to make the case for SPLOST funding for other projects. About 20 citizens attended the first session, and seven attended the second.

Russ Page, farmland protection advocate, asked for $1 million for historic and scenic site protection and an additional $1 million for farmland protection at both meetings. Page estimated he could generate about $50 million from grants and other contributions to these initiatives.

Another citizen at the Nov. 3 meeting asked for an unspecified amount of money to be used to purchase land for an expanded courthouse in Watkinsville, another seconded Page’s request for farmland protection funding, another called for additional recreational funding, including projects covered by Page’s presentation, and a final asked for riding and hiking trails, also a part of Page’s presentation.

The first item on the agenda for the called meeting on Thursday is expansion of the wastewater treatment capacity of the county.

The county has been discussing construction of a new sewage treatment plant at the site of the Land Application System on Rocky Branch Road since at least 2004, but talk of that project has been on hold for several months.

At the Aug. 5, 2008, BOC meeting, Utility Director Chris Thomas was given authorization to negotiate with Southern Champion Construction Inc. of Savannah and Stone Mountain to perform the Construction Manager at Risk responsibilities for the $8 to $10 million plant.

The outcome of those negotiations has not came back to the BOC. The Utility Department has included a septic receiving station as part of its wish list for additional SPLOST funding, and the ability to treat septic tank waste was added to the Rocky Branch plant in the engineering and design contract discussion.

The Utility Department, which is referred to as an "enterprise" department because it is supposed to pay its own way without tax support, is suffering from lower than projected levels of income because of the drought and the crash of the local economy.

The SPLOST funding the department receives at present and asked for from any future tax shows that the Utility Department is far from self-supporting.

Video recordings of Russ Page’s presentation at the Oct. 21 meeting, of his and other citizen requests at the Nov. 3 meeting, of departmental requests at the Nov. 3 meeting, and of a summary of the requests are available on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Corps of Engineers Questions Epps Bridge Centre Request

Negotiations Not a Concern for County Officials

The developer of the planned Epps Bridge Centre has told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers he proposes to put 2,678 linear feet of perennial streams–including one that originates offsite--into underground pipes and fill and pave over 1.06 acres of wetlands and natural drainage areas in order to build the $76 million shopping center on Epps Bridge Parkway.

The Corps of Engineers, however, has not yet agreed to the plan.

On Feb. 4, 2008, Justin A. Hammonds, project manager at the Savannah District of the Corps of Engineers, wrote to developer Frank Bishop informing him that the project as proposed did not meet federal guidelines.

As recently as Sept. 22, 2008, biologists working for the developer were still providing requested details of the project to the Corps of Engineer. The Oconee County Planning Commission recommended the project for approval after Bishop met with the Board more than a month earlier–on Aug. 18.

According to documents submitted to the Corps on behalf of Bishop in August 2007, the Epps Bridge Parkway site was selected because "Oconee County is willing to rezone the site."

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners made good on that assertion on Oct. 7 when it rezoned the 68-acre site from agricultural and residential use to business to accommodate the 444,000 square foot retail project, which is to include a 16-screen movie theater, space for anchor stores, small retail shops and seven restaurants.

The Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center (NEGRDC) earlier reviewed the project and concluded in July of 2008 that it was "not in the best interest of the region and therefore the state" and that "the negative impacts of the project outweighed the positive economic impacts and job creation."

NEGRDC criticized the project because of its negative environmental impact and because of its adverse effects on traffic on Epps Bridge Parkway.

The Fish and Wildlife Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior, however, was even harsher.

In a letter dated Feb. 12, 2008, Sandra S. Tucker, field supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said biologists for the Service made site inspections on Jan. 8 and Feb. 7 of 2008 and found that the site "is currently providing ecological benefits and habitat for birds, deer, racoons and other wildlife in a rapidly developing area that will soon have very little habitat or greenspace."

Tucker noted that the project "would result in conversion of approximately 50 acres of forested landscape to impervious surface (roofs, parking lots, roads)" that will result in the loss of habitat and produce "hydrologic changes" to the site by "increasing the amount and decrease the quality of storm water runoff."

According to Tucker’s analysis, even though Bishop proposes to meet the state’s standard’s on storm water, these standards only address "downstream flow rates, flood control, and water quality to an extent." The state standards, she said, "do not adequately address volume control or groundwater recharge."

Bishop is proposing to mitigate the destruction of the streams and wetlands by a restoration project in Greene County.

Tucker, however didn’t like the calculations. "Restoration of 981 linear feet of stream (in Greene County) for loss of 3,074 linear feet of stream impact (in Oconee County) appears to be inadequate," she wrote.

Tucker recommended a variety of changes to the project, including use of "infiltration practices to better replicate the natural hydrology of the site," using porous pavement, preserving green space and reusing water on the site.

Even before that letter, Corps Project Manager Hammonds had written to Bishop informing him that "no discharge of dredged or fill material" can be put into waters under federal jurisdiction "unless appropriate and practicable steps have been taken which will minimize potential adverse impacts of the discharge on the aquatic ecosystem.

"As the project is currently proposed, there has been no effort to avoid and/or minimize impacts to waters of the U.S.," Hammonds continued.

On Sept. 15, Kendall Cochran, a senior biologist at Wildlands Environmental Inc. of Lawrenceville, responded to the letter of Hammonds and proposed that some of the existing wetlands on the site be retained. He also responded to the NEGRDC critique. He did not respond to the Fish and Wildlife Service letter.

On Sept. 22, 2008, however, Cochran submitted a revised calculation of restoration credits.

I received these documents from the Corps of Engineers after the Board of Commissioners voted to approve the rezone on Oct. 7. I had filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request on Sept. 11, 2008, but the final set of documents was not mailed to me until Oct. 7. I received them a few days later.

That Bishop planned to destroy the wetland was clear from the NEGRDC review, but the details of the proposed piping and filling of streams and wetlands has not been made public before.

Bishop had applied for a Corps of Engineer permit to pipe and fill the federally regulated waters on the development site on Epps Bridge Parkway in April of 2007, but he withdrew that permit application after the Corps noted that he did not own all the land covered by the application.

In August of 2007 Bishop submitted a second application, and in December of 2007 the Corps gave Public Notice that it was soliciting response to the application. Tucker’s letter from the Fish and Wildlife Service was submitted in response to that Public Notice.

Bishop also will need a state variance to disturb the 25-foot buffer for streams that the state requires, but that variance cannot be granted until the Corps of Engineers had granted a permit.

Bishop told the Corps that the cost of acquiring the land for the shopping center on Epps Bridge Parkway was so great that it is necessary to be able to pave over and build on all of the site rather than preserve the streams and wetlands or "the economic return-on-investment would not justify the acquisition and development costs."

The developer told the Corps he considered eight alternate sites for the development but rejected them all in selecting the site on Epps Bridge Parkway west of the current Lowe’s because the selected site will be served by the proposed Oconee Connector Extension and because the site provided enough land to "accommodate the entire scope of the project."

The state has not yet let the contract for the Oconee Connector Extension. He purchased the land for the right of way for the Connection, and Oconee County then spent $5 million purchasing that right of way for the state.

The State has not yet reimbursed the county for the expenditure.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read About Rezone

Get Your Corrections Here

Regular readers of The Oconee Enterprise know they often have to read between the lines to try to make sense of stories in the paper. Sometimes, even that is not enough, and it simply is not possible to disentangle a report.

The story in today's paper on the Dec. 4 postponement of the rezone hearing on Daniells Bridge Road (page A3) is a case of the latter.

I've marked up a copy of the story to correct the errors. My posting below gives further details about the meeting. The video of the meeting is available as well on the official county site.

Errors in the Enterprise are not limited to stories by one writer. The lead story in the paper today reports that Melvin Davis got 99 percent of the votes cast in the race for chairman of the Board of Commissioners. In fact, Davis got 12,803 votes and write-in candidate Tom Leach got 450, or 3.4 percent, according to the posted county figures today.

On election night the county did not initially report returns for those who voted early. Later it posted only returns for those who voted early for Davis, leaving out the write-in count. This story is an example of needing to read between the lines.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oconee BOC Postpones Another Hearing

More than One Curve Involved

Oconee County stipulated as part of legal documents it filed with the Superior Court in early October that it would hold a public hearing on Nov. 4 regarding the proposed rezone for nine acres of land just east of a blind curve on Daniells Bridge Road that the property owners want to develop as an office park.

According to the consent order filed with the court, the county was to publicize the hearing via a legal notice in The Oconee Enterprise and signs on the property. The Planning Commission was to review the proposal on Oct. 20.

The County advertised the hearing as required, and the Planning Commission reviewed it as required.

The Board of Commissioners at its agenda setting meeting on Oct. 28 confirmed the scheduled hearing for election night.

Before the Nov. 4 hearing began, however, Commissioner Chuck Horton asked for a postponement and made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Jim Luke, that the hearing not be held. The motion passed unanimously, and the hearing was postponed to the Dec. 2 meeting of the BOC.

Fifteen citizens, including me, had come to the meeting to speak against the rezone. I tried to get chairman Melvin Davis to recognize me before the BOC voted on the rezone, but he ignored my raised hand and looked away from the audience.

On Sept. 2, the BOC similarly postponed a scheduled hearing regarding the rezone request for 68 acres on Epps Bridge Parkway, this time at the request of the developer but without any recognition of the inconvenience it caused citizens who had come to participate in the hearing.

The Board approved that rezone on Oct. 7 after citizens again came out to argue that the massive shopping center planned for the site had adverse consequences for the traffic in the area and environment on and around the site.

Before postponing the Daniells Bridge Rezone on Nov. 4, the Board also postponed a hearing on a rezone issue at Hog Mountain Road and Loch Lomond Circle. Again, the Board did not ask if any citizens in the audience were inconvenienced by the postponement.

The decision to try to settle the lawsuit with property owners Dolores N. Lance and Dorothy N. Anglin apparently was made in one of the many executive sessions the BOC holds with county attorney Daniel Haygood. No public record of those discussions has been released.

Commissioner Horton did acknowledge on Tuesday night that the rezone has been a topic of BOC discussions.

"Based on conversation we’ve had regarding the Daniells Bridge Road," he said, he was asking Emil Beshara, director of Public Works for the county, to "put on paper what we have been discussing about Daniells Bridge Road."

Beshara confirmed further discussion with commissioners, this time outside of executive session.
"I had the opportunity to meet with all the commissioners–or commissioners that had time available–on the site...to discuss various improvements to the corridor," he said.

State open meetings law prohibits a quorum of the Board–three members–from meeting without giving public notice. Beshara did not provide any details of the meeting or meetings.

"We discussed several improvements," Beshara said. "I think what Commissioner Horton is after is a visual depiction of our conversation and what our proposed approach is."

Chairman Davis said the discussion was regarding the stretch of Daniells Bridge Road from Lynn Drive west to the Oconee Connector. Lynn Drive is near the center of the blind curve and just west of the proposed office park development.

As Beshara acknowledged, citizens complained before the initial rezone request was denied in May of 2007 about the danger of the curve itself and the area where the proposed office park would be located.

Lance and Anglin filed suit shortly after that rezone was denied by the BOC claiming the county’s failure to rezone has caused them "to suffer significant detriment under the existing coding" and that the action was "insubstantially related to the public health, safety, morality and welfare" and is therefore "arbitrary and unreasonable."

The county’s refusal to grant the rezone "amounts to an unconstitutional taking of property without just and adequate compensation," according to the lawsuit.

Since the consent order stipulated that the hearing had to take place on Nov. 4, Commissioner Luke worried at the meeting if the postponement would create any legal problems for the county.

"I discussed this with their attorney this afternoon," County Attorney Haygood said, "and they had no reservations about postponement–at least none that were expressed."

On May 1, 2007, Commissioner Don Norris recused himself from the discussion and vote on the Lance and Anglin rezone, saying he had a conflict of interest. He did not leave the meeting on Dec. 4 and voted on the decision to postpone the hearing. Commissioner Margaret Hale did not attend the Dec. 4 meeting.

Officially, at least, Beshara is supposed to bring to the BOC at its Nov. 25 agenda setting meeting the requested concept plans.

And the public hearing on the rezone request is scheduled once again for Dec. 2.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Daniells Bridge Rezone Needs a Road

What to Do on Election Night

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night will vote for the second time in as many months on a rezone request that is linked to a roadway that does not exist.

The county’s legal advisors have recommended approval of the rezone on Tuesday night for property just east of a blind curve on Daniells Bridge Road as part of a settlement in which the county would obtain one acre of land for a proposed roadway that the county has said is at least 10 years from completion.

The blind curve on Daniells Bridge Road was created when the on-ramp from SR 316 East to SR Loop 10 was built. The curve is particularly dangerous because drivers traveling east on Daniells Bridge Road can easily get the impression they need to bear left in the direction of Loop 10, but they actually need to turn right to stay on Daniells Bridge Road.

The curve is at a high point of roadway, meaning that drivers in either direction are looking at the sky rather than at the roadway. The speed limit is 45 miles per hour.

Stephen D. Jenkins and Edward Nichols of Athens propose to build a two-story office business park on a nine-acre site just east of the curve. The business park will have two exits onto Daniells Bridge Road, one at Will Usher Road about 450 feet from the curve.

Commissioner Jim Luke confirmed to me in a conversation on Oct. 21 that the county has been advised to approve the rezone as part of a settlement of a suit that was filed by land owners Dorothy N. Anglin and Dolores N. Lance of 340 Ashton Drive in Athens after the BOC turned down the rezone request on May 1, 2007.

The county is concerned that if it does not settle the suit, Luke said, the Oconee County Superior Court will grant the rezone without any conditions. At present, the Oconee County Planning Staff has recommended eight conditions, including that Anglin and Lance give the county ownership of one of the nine acres for the right of way of the future road.

On Oct. 7, 2008, attorney Michael Pruett, representing the county, filed a consent order with the Superior Court stipulating that Anglin and Lance had agreed to meet the conditions if the BOC approves the rezone. Jeffrey DeLoach, representing Anglin and Lance, told the Planning Commission on Oct. 20 that Judge David Sweat had signed the consent order on Oct. 14.

The Planning Commission voted 5-1 to send the rezone request forward to the BOC without recommendation.

The BOC frequently goes into closed session to discuss legal matters with County Attorney Daniel Haygood, who practices law in partnership with Pruett in Watkinsville. The county never provides an agenda for those meetings or any record of what was discussed.

Pruett is unlikely to have filed the consent order if the members of the BOC had indicated in the closed discussions that they did not wish to settle the case.

On Oct. 7 the BOC approved a rezone for Epps Bridge Centre on 68 acres across the intersection of SR 316 and SR Loop 10 from the proposed office park on Daniells Bridge Road even though the primary access road to that development has not been built. The state is expected to let the contract later this year, though the date has been pushed back several times already.

That unbuilt road is called at present the Oconee Connector Extension, and it will run from the current Oconee Connector intersection with SR 316 west of SR Loop 10, fly over SR Loop 10, and connect back to Epps Bridge Parkway east of SR Loop 10.

The county proposes to extend the existing Jennings Mill Parkway that serves as the entrance to Home Depot so that the extended roadway crosses SR Loop 10 south of Home Depot. The new roadway would be called the Daniells Bridge Extension and would connect with the existing Daniells Bridge road just west of Chestnut Hill Road.

At the May 1, 2007, BOC meeting, then Public Works Director Mike Leonas, said construction of this roadway was at least 10 years away. That was before the current financial crisis that has resulted in the cancellation of many state roadway projects, including the widening of Mars Hill Road from SR 316 to Watkinsville in Oconee County.

Even if the Daniells Bridge Extension were built, however, it would not fix the blind curve on Daniells Bridge Road just west of the proposed office park.

The county has discussed improving Daniells Bridge Road from Founders Boulevard to Mars Hill Road but not east from Founders Boulevard to the proposed rezone site, at which the proposed Daniells Bridge Extension is to end.

GCA of Atlanta conducted a Traffic Impact Analysis for Nichols Land Development Company and submitted its report in March of 2007. According to that report, the proposed office park will have 394 parking spaces and exits onto Daniells Bridge Road at Will Usher Drive and 520 feet east of Will Usher Drive.

According to the report, the study focused on the impact of the new development on Daniells Bridge Road at these two exits and entrances, at the Daniells Bridge Road intersection with Founders Boulevard, at the Daniells Bridge Road intersection with the Oconee Connector, and at the intersection of the Oconee Connector and State Route 316.

The traffic study makes no reference to the blind curve on Daniells Bridge Road just west of the site, essentially treating Daniells Bridge Road as if it were straight. The analysis was performed "to evaluate each of the three intersections with respect to the current volumes and the additional traffic from the development."

Based on a "Trip Generation Manual," GCA estimated that an office park of the size of the one proposed will generate 1,458 average daily trips, including 206 in the morning peak and 206 in the evening peak.

"After consultation with Oconee County staff, it was decided that" 90 percent of the traffic coming out of the Anglin and Lance site would turn right, heading toward the Oconee Connector, and the remaining 10 percent would turn left, heading east on Daniells Bridge Road in the direction of Hog Mountain Road.

CGA estimated that half of the traffic would use the western most exit, and half would use the eastern most exit.

CGA concluded that Level of Service (LOS) will deteriorate at all three of the intersections as a result of the proposed project, but only at Daniells Bridge Road and Oconee Connector and Oconee Connector and SR 316 is the deterioration expected to be significant.

CGA said the deterioration at these latter two intersections would occur even if the development did not take place and recommended improvements to those sites. The LOS would be "undesirable" without those upgrades, CGA wrote.

Of course, continued congestion at these two exits could encourage more drivers to turn left coming out of the proposed office park, putting more traffic on Daniells Bridge Road heading east. A left-turn exit is necessarily more dangerous than a right-turn exit since it requires the driver to cross traffic.

The CGA report said the LOS at the project driveways would remain at the top level, though it did not indicate how much deterioration would take place from the existing LOS.

The Oconee planning staff concluded that the advantage of not granting the rezone would be "less traffic and road maintenance and less demand for law enforcement and fire suppression activities, emergency services, and other county services."

The existing roadway has no paved berms or sidewalks. Four driveways enter Daniells Bridge Road, in addition to Lynn Drive and Will Usher Drive, in the short distance of the proposed development.

In addition, overhead power lines cross from the Anglin and Lance property, back to the opposite side of Daniells Bridge Road, and back to the Anglin and Lance property.

The Oconee County planning staff has stipulated as one of its eight conditions that the developer install center turn lanes and acceleration and deceleration lanes at each entrance and exit. The center turn lane would start in the blind curve, meaning that backed up traffic coming fromthe west and turning left into the proposed office business park would make it even more difficult for drivers wishing to turn left from that park onto Daniells Bridge Road to see traffic coming out of the blind curve.

The two-story building will have a footprint of approximately 56,000 square feet. According to a drawing submitted by Beall and Company on behalf of the developer, about 55 percent of the surface area would be impervious surface, but the 45 percent designed as landscaped includes the acre set aside for future highway right of way.

With that acre removed, more than 60 percent of the surface area that is currently wooded would be impervious surface. To accommodate stormwater runoff, the developer proposes to create underground detention facilities.

The developer also proposes to include a lift station to pump sewage from the site to the county’s main lines.

In May of 2007, neighbors turned in petitions with more than 400 signatures in opposition to the rezone. The Welbrook Farms Home Owners Associations voted to oppose the development, and citizens from neighboring subdivisions spoke against it at the public hearing. I helped organize the petition drive and was head of the Welbrook Farms HOA at the time. I also spoke at the hearing.

Commission Don Norris recused himself at that meeting because of an unspecified conflict of interest. Commissioners Luke, Margaret Hale and Chuck Horton voted to turn it down.

Anglin and Lance are seeking to rezone the land from Agricultural-Residential to Office Business Park. The OBP category allows for a variety of business applications. It does not include restaurants, though the county has designated the area as "wet" in the beer and wine ordinance it passed earlier this year.

The public hearing on Tuesday–election night--will start at 7 p.m. in the courthouse in Watkinsville. Polling stations throughout the county and state close at that same time.

That the county would agree as part of the consent order to a public hearing on election night starting as polling stations are closing says a lot about the county’s approach to the hearing.

Click here to take a drive along Daniells Bridge Road at the proposed development site. Cick here to see what a driver exiting the site looking to the blind curve will see.