Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oconee County Clerk Announces Four Work Sessions For Commissioners, Including One On Daniells Bridge Road And Other Roadway Projects

In Grand Jury Room

Oconee County Clerk Jane Greathouse this morning announced four Board of Commissioners work sessions for the last two weeks of the month covering a range of topics, including the widening of Daniells Bridge Road and the construction of the Daniells Bridge Road extension and flyover of SR Loop 10.

The commissioners decided at the end of two days of planning meetings last month to hold a series of work sessions, but they had not been scheduled until today.

Each of the four sessions will be held in the Grand Jury room in the courthouse, which seats a relatively small number of people. The announcements do not indicate if citizens will be given a chance to speak.

Citizens were not given the opportunity to address the Board during the two days of planning meetings held in Athens-Clarke County last month.

Four Sessions Outlined

All four sessions have a 5 p.m. starting time and no posted end time.

The first of the four meetings will be on Monday, Feb. 16, and will give the commissioners a chance to review all items discussed during the Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 planning sessions, according to the announcement.

The second session, on Wednesday, Feb. 18, and will focus on future space requirements for county offices, including those in the current courthouse.

The third session is on Monday, Feb. 23, and will involve discussion of all road projects on the list of the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS). The two Daniells Bridge Road projects are on that list.

The final session, on Thursday, Feb. 26, will be a wrap-up session that will cover all of the topics listed for the first three work sessions, according to the notice sent out by Greathouse.

Project Framework Agreements

At the end of the second day of the planning sessions on Jan. 23, the BOC agreed to hold work sessions as the next step to deal with topics covered in the two days of meetings.

The BOC had discussed the two Daniells Bridge Road projects briefly during the planning meetings, and they were identified as two of the many road projects the BOC would have to decide upon in the coming year.

Within a few hours of that decision, Greathouse sent out an agenda for the BOC meeting on Jan. 27 that included a call for the BOC to approve project framework agreements with the Georgia Department of Transportation to move forward with the two Daniells Bridge Road projects.

BOC Chairman Melvin Davis, who is a proponent of both projects, is the primary architect of BOC agendas.

The Board refused to approve the agreements after lengthy discussions at that Jan. 27 meeting and another of Feb. 3. Instead, the Board agreed to revisit the project framework agreements after a 60-day review period.

IDA Meeting

The Daniells Bridge Road projects came up at the meeting of the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority on Monday.

Larry Benson, in his member report, said he would like to see the Daniells Bridge Road extension built.

Benson is the owner of Benson Bakery in Bogart and of a group of area hotels, including the SpringHill Suites, 3500 Daniells Bridge Road. Benson said he was considering expanding the Daniells Bridge Road hotel.

Benson said that the new Epps Bridge Centre had created a lot of traffic, making it difficult for people to move through the county’s commercial corridor on Epps Bridge Parkway.

As a consequence, he said, the county needed to find ways “to improve the customer experience of the traveler that is looking to go shopping in the area.”

His rambling comments are shown below in their entirety.

OCO: Benson On Flyover from Lee Becker on Vimeo

Waller Response

IDA Chairman Rick Waller, who lives in Birchmore Hills off Daniells Bridge Road, said he did not want to discuss the two Daniells Bridge Road projects at the meeting.

“I know a lot of people don’t want Daniells Bridge Road turned into a thoroughfare,” he said.

Waller said the IDA should leave it to the Board of Commissioners to resolve the issue.

A clip from his comments is below.

OCO: Waller on Daniells Bridge Road IDA 2 9 15 Waller from Lee Becker on Vimeo

I attended the meeting, but Sarah Bell made the video recordings used here.

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