Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oconee County Goes Forward With Farmland Program Despite Losing $175,000 In Federal Funds

Application Deadline Set

Oconee County is going forward with the process of identifying and selecting farms for a farmland protection program even though there is no federal money to make the program work.

The local office of the United States Department of Agriculture, which administers the federal program, in July turned back $175,000 in federal funds that were available to the county for farmland protection this year, saying that the county “opted not to put a farm forward” for 2013 funding.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oconee County Commissioners Tell Industrial Development Authority Not To Focus Only On Industrial Parks

Want More Discussion Of Zoning

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority received a cautious response last night when it delivered its report on industrial development to the county’s Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Jim Luke said the report “was a great work in progress” but that he was concerned that the Authority was putting too much emphasis on creating industrial parks.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Says Zoning Not Holding Up Development

Wants Industrial Sites

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners asked the members of the county’s Industrial Development Authority to study the feasibility of changing the county’s approach to zoning as a way to attract industrial development to the county.

The Development Authority recommended instead that the county should create one or more industrial sites each between 25 and 75 acres in size and that the county should make sure those sites have needed infrastructure for development.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oconee And Walton Counties To Hold Hard Labor Creek Groundbreaking Ceremony Oct. 4

Gov. Deal Expected

The Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board has decided to hold an official reservoir groundbreaking ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 4 at or near the reservoir intake construction site on Social Circle-Fairplay Road in Walton County.

Invited guests will include Gov. Nathan Deal, though Project Manager Jimmy Parker told me on Wednesday that the governor’s office has asked that the governor’s attendance not be included in any formal press releases.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oconee County Planning Commission Recommends Denial Of Permit For Cell Tower

Near Eastville

The Oconee County Planning Commission voted 6-4 on Monday night to recommend to the Board of Commissioners that it deny Robert W. Strickland a permit to construct a communication tower on his property just outside the Eastville community in the northwestern part of the county.

About 15 people turned out to oppose the tower, saying it would adversely affect the value of their properties. They asked that the tower be built on commercial property rather than on the Strickland property, which is zoned for agriculture.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mars Hill Road Bidding Delayed By GDOT To Allow For Right Of Way Acquisition

Pushed Back Five Months

The Georgia Department of Transportation has put off until February the letting of bids for Oconee County’s Mars Hill Road widening project.

Brent Cook, District One preconstruction engineer, told me in a telephone conversation today that right of way acquisition by the county is “running a little behind schedule,” making it necessary for GDOT to delay by five months the expected bidding for the $25.8 million project.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cell Tower Proposal Near Eastville Community Before Oconee County Planning Commission

Verizon Will Operate Tower

A Parker Creek Road property owner is asking the Oconee County Planning Commission to grant him a special use permit so he can lease 14,400 square feet of his property to Verizon Wireless for construction of a telecommunications tower.

Verizon says the new 190-foot monopole will allow it to “greatly improve existing wireless service” in northwestern Oconee County, including the community of Eastville and along Malcom Bridge, Hodges Mill and Hog Mountain roads.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oconee County Land Use Committee Refuses To Recommend Further Action On Development Rights Program

Reverses Study Committee Action

The Oconee County Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee voted 6-5 on Tuesday night against giving further consideration to a Transfer of Development Rights program for the county.

The Tuesday vote, after 165 minutes of discussion across two meetings, countered the unanimous recommendation of a 16-member citizen committee that had studied TDR programs for six months.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Oconee County Land Use Committee Invited TDR Committee To Tuesday Meeting

Request For Proposals On Agenda

The Oconee County Citizen Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning has extended an invitation to members of the county’s Transfer of Development Rights Committee to meet jointly on Tuesday night at the Community Center in Veterans Park.

The Land Use Committee issued the invitation after a discussion of nearly 90 minutes on Aug. 13 in which individual members expressed confusion about their mandate, opposition to a TDR program on the mistaken belief that it involves the federal government, and frustration with the Committee leadership.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Epps Bridge Centre Has Received Building Permits From Oconee County For Two-Thirds Of Total Space

Most Outparcels Still Unbuilt

Oconee County has now issued at least some form of building permit for nearly two-thirds of the total commercial space in Epps Bridge Centre, the new shopping mall at the Oconee Connector and SR Loop 10.

Most of those permits are for the core of the shopping center, which preliminary site plans indicated would make up more than 80 percent of the total mall space.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Bioscience Authority Appointments On Agenda For Board of Commissioners Meeting On Tuesday

Late Addition

Oconee County Clerk Jane Greathouse just before noon on Friday added a new item dealing with appointments to the Georgia Bioscience Joint Development Authority to the agenda for Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting .

Earlier last week she added to the agenda a water and sewer project update by Utility Department Director Chris Thomas. Thomas is to review recently completed water and sewer projects, those underway, and future projects