The Oconee County Land Use And Transportation Planning Committee tonight recommended to the Board of Commissioners that it sign project framework agreements for widening of Jimmy Daniell Road and Daniells Bridge Road and construction of an extension of Daniells Bridge Road with a flyover of SR Loop 10.
Bob Sanders, Land Use Committee member, said he was fearful the state would withdraw its contributions to the three projects if the Commissioners didn’t take action on the agreements the county received from the Georgia Department of Transportation in July.
At its meeting on Oct. 14, the Land Use Committee had set as a rough deadline for completion of its review of these projects by February or March, but it reversed course and took action tonight at the request of Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis.
The Committee voted 8-1 to tell the commissioners they should sign the agreements without providing any indication of its priorities among the projects or making suggestions about design.
Committee Chairman Abe Abouhamdan began the meeting tonight by saying that he has made a mistake in telling the Committee that it should review the full set of projects the county has before the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS).
MACORTS is the oversight body for transportation projects in the urbanized part of the county.
Abouhamdan said the Committee instead should focus on three project framework agreements the county received from the Georgia Department of Transportation in July. At earlier meetings, Abouhamdan had said the Committee should ignore these agreements.
Abouhamdan told me after the meeting he had received instructions to get a Committee vote directly from Davis as well as through county Strategic and Long-Range Planning Director Wayne Provost and Public Works Director Emil Beshara.
Project Framework Agreements
Beshara told the Committee that he recommends the county sign only those project framework agreements that propose funding in the current fiscal year.
If the Commission did otherwise, he said, it would be committing Commissions to projects the future Commissions might not support. His comments are in the video below.
The project framework agreements, sent to the county in July, do not stipulate when they are to be signed.
They also don’t make clear when funding would begin if the agreements were signed.
They documents do indicate that construction funding for the widening of Daniells Bridge Road would be authorized in January of 2018.
Construction funding for the extension of Daniells Bridge Road would be authorized in August of 2018.
Funding for the widening of Jimmy Daniell Road would be authorized in October of 2018.
Agreement Approval Delayed
Chairman Davis had wanted to have the project framework agreements approved at the end of July, but the four voting commissioners said the appearance of the agreements was a surprise to them and objected.
At Davis’ suggestion, the BOC sent the projects to the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee for review. The Committee was told to examine county transportation needs rather than just the three projects covered by the project framework agreements.
Sanders, who serves with Davis on a key MACORTS policy committee, made the motion tonight for action on project framework agreements. The motion was seconded by Maria Caudill.
Only Bob Isaac, who lives in Welbrook Farms subdivision off Daniells Bridge Road, voted against the motion. James Morris, another resident of the subdivision and member of the Land Use Committee, voted with the majority.
I also live in Welbrook Farms subdivision.