Monday, November 08, 2010

Oconee County Land Use Committee Has Bike Signage and a Biking and Walking Plan on Agenda

Only Maybe

The Oconee County Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee will return to the issue of bicyclists tomorrow night when it takes up a request that the county put up Share the Road signs on four Oconee County roadways.

The committee also is scheduled to review a Plan for Bicycling and Walking from the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission.

On Sept. 14 the Committee discussed at length the July request from the Oconee County Cycling Organization that the county install Share the Road signs on four county roads.

Those roads are Colham Ferry road from Watkinsville to Watson Spring Mill road, Simonton Bridge road from Watkinsville to the county line, New High Shoals road from U.S. 441 to SR 186, and Barnett Shoals road from Watkinsville to the county line.

Much of the discussion was quite critical of the request, with Emil Beshara, county director of Pubic Works, saying he believed the signs would create liability issues for the county.

Committee Chairman Abe Abouhamdan agreed to take up the issue again at the meeting tomorrow night, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Community Center in Veterans Park.

The committee’s last meeting was devoted to a discussion of a new judicial facility for the county.

In the meantime, the Board of Commissioners has sent the Land Use Committee the Plan for Bicycling and Walking for review.

The citizen committee has been asked by the BOC to make a recommendation to it both on the signage issue and on the Northeast Georgia plan.

The Bicycling and Walking plan was on the agenda of the BOC for Oct. 26 when County Clerk Gina Lindsey released it on the afternoon of Oct. 22. She released a revised agenda on Oct. 25 that eliminated the item.

Lindsey said in releasing the second agenda that the biking and walking plan was being sent to the Land Use Committee for review.

Chairman Melvin Davis sent the other four commissioners an email message on Oct. 1 advising them of the request by the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission that the county approve the plans.

He sent with his Oct. 1 memo three resolutions for the commissioners to consider. One endorsed the resolution and one adopted the resolution.

The third, which Davis said he recommended, simply recognized the resolution. That third resolution, which he told the commissions had been drafted by Strategic and Long-Range Planning Director Wayne Provost, greatly distances the county from the plan.

The other two drafts say that the county “will implement” or “will consider implementation” of the plan.

The document drafted by Provost says the county “may consider” the plan “when making some planning development decisions.”

Nina Kelly of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission is scheduled to appear before the Land Use Committee to make the case for the plan.

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