The Oconee County Board of Commissioners, in two 3-1 votes tonight, turned down project framework agreements with the state for the widening of Daniells Bridge Road and for the construction an extension of Daniells Bridge Road to fly over SR Loop 10 to the stub of the Oconee Connector at Home Depot.
The Board took the action after another public hearing in which 23 residents, largely from the subdivisions along Daniells Bridge Road, spoke in opposition to the projects.
Another resident said he was in favor of the flyover but not as designed and a third said he was in favor of the flyover but was not sure about widening the roadway. A fifth did not take a stand but said the Board should spend the county’s money wisely.
Chairman Melvin Davis, after restricting citizens to three minutes of comments each in their comments, spent six minutes before the vote trying to persuade the commissioners to approve the project framework agreements.
Davis then spent four minutes and 45 seconds after the vote telling everyone why he thought the commissioners had made the wrong decision.
Those comments are below.
Davis said he would have voted for the project framework agreements had he been given a chance.
The board chairman votes only in the case of a tie.
Wilkes Made Motions
Commissioner Bubber Wilkes made the motion for approval of the widening of Daniells Bridge Road. It died for lack of a second.
Commissioner John Daniells then made a motion to turn down the project framework agreement for the widening project, and Commissioner Mark Saxon seconded.
Commissioner Jim Luke joined Daniell and Saxon in approving that motion, and Wilkes voted against.
Commissioner Wilkes then made the motion to approve the project framework agreement for the Daniells Bridge Road extension and flyover. That, too, died for lack of a second.
Commissioner Luke made the motion to reject the extension and flyover, and Saxon seconded. Daniell joined them in turning down the agreement, and Wilkes voted against.
Daniell created some suspense in the 12 minutes between the votes on the two motions to deny by engaging Davis in a discussion of the Daniells Bridge Road extension and flyover.
Davis tried to persuade Daniell that the project had merit and that the county risked losing the state and federal money for the project if it turned down the agreement.
Daniell said he was in favor of the broad concept but not of the project as spelled out in the documents sent to the county by the Georgia Department of Transportation.
He said the county needed more information that would allow it to decide if this project or a flyover of SR 316 at the Oconee Connector represented the better use of county funds.
About 70 people turned out for the meeting, which was moved from the regular Commission Chamber to Courtroom Number 1 because of the anticipated size of the audience. The discussion of the Daniells Bridge Road projects lasted about 90 minutes.
Davis tonight told the speakers he would allow them only three minutes for their comments, a procedure usually followed only in zoning hearings.
Davis required several speakers, including me, to stop their comments when he said their time expired.
In my case, I asked Sarah Bell to continue reading what I had written in opposition to the projects, and she did that. Bell began by saying she was opposed to the project as well.
Video Of Session
The full video of the meeting is below. The discussion of Daniells Bridge Road begins at the 33rd minute.