Sunday, July 12, 2015

Oconee County Code Enforcement Looking Into Location Of Boswell Signs—Again

Connector And SR 316

The Oconee County Code Enforcement Office is once again investigating a two-sided sign installed by Boswell Properties on the southwest corner of SR 316 and the Oconee Connector.

Boswell Properties reinstalled the signs sometime in the last few weeks to list property owned by Maxie Price, the Loganville auto dealer and businessman who has several properties in the county.

The county had removed signs from the same property late last year because the signs did not meet the county’s sign ordinance.

The county moved the signs to a different spot on the property—to where they are shown on the permit issued by the county in 2013—but did not put the signs in the ground.

Boswell reinstalled the signs near the spot from which they had been removed and in what appears to be state right of way.

Investigation Underway

B.R. White, Oconee County Code Enforcement director, told me on Friday that the county is trying to determine--before taking action against Boswell--if the state has sold the right of way it has owned in the SR 316 and Oconee Connector intersection.

The state obtained a large amount of land at what is now the Oconee Connector intersection with SR 316 when it built SR 316, according to Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara. The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to put in a grade-separate interchange at that location.

SR 316 And Connector Looking West

Beshara wrote me in an email message on Tuesday of last week that he doubted GDOT had given up that right of way, but on Friday he told me he needed to reconfirm the status of the right of way to be certain.

If Price “hasn’t purchased the R/W from GDOT the sign is in the R/W,” White wrote me in an email message early last week.

Boswell has not obtained a new permit for the sign, White told me at that time, and the new sign is not at the location covered by Boswell’s existing permit, he said.

White said Boswell would have to obtain a new permit to locate the sign where it now stands if the state has given up the right of way.

Sign Ordinance

Oconee County’s sign ordinance requires that signs be set back from the property line and out of the right of way of roadways.

It also requires that signs the size of those being used by Boswell can be installed only after the owner receives a permit.

Boswell obtained a permit in August of 2013 for the signs on the property owned by Price, but the location specified on the permit was on the Oconee Connector roughly halfway between SR 316 and the Mars Hill Road and Daniells Bridge Road intersections with the Connector.

SR 316 And Connector Looking Southwest

Because the signs Boswell had installed on the southeast corner of the SR 316 and Oconee Connector intersection were in the state right of way and not where permitted, the county removed them after unsuccessfully attempting to get Boswell to remove them.

Transportation Board

Boswell Properties is owned by Jamie Boswell, an Athens real estate broker.

Since early 2013, Boswell has served as District 10 representative to the 14-member State Transportation Board, which oversees road projects, including the widening of Mars Hill Road and the Oconee Connector.

Boswell has listings for a variety of properties in the area of the widening, including for three in the Oconee Connector intersection with Mars Hill Road and Daniells Bridge Road.

All of those signs had to be moved back when the state purchased right away for and began the widening of Mars Hill Road and the Oconee Connector

Property owner Maxie Price has been in a dispute with the county over the value of that right of way.

Boswell joined Price in a meeting with county officials late last year to discuss that disagreement and the resulting condemnation suit.


Anonymous said...

Jamie Boswell, King of Conflicts of Interest

Is he a State Transportation Board member, who represents the best interests of citizens who reside in his district...


Is he a business owner representing another business owner who has an issue with a GDOT project?

Pick one Jamie!! An appointment to the State Transportation Board is arguably the most important non-elected position in Georgia. You represent the citizens in your district...not your own business interests.

Beanne said...

Amazing how Mr. Boswell, a member of the state transportation board, is unable to remember the laws regarding signs. We, the taxpayers, have to pay people to enforce the law and to remove his signs, since he is unwilling/refuses to move them himself, although he has no problem having them erected. Cannot he at least be fined for these problems to cover our costs. He is a disgrace to this position.

Anonymous said...

Who in the blank does Jamie Boswell think he is?
This is what happens when a Melvin Davis crony is allowed to do whatever he wants without any of the other four commissioners stepping up and demanding checks & balances.

Jamie Boswell should not be our rep. on the State Transportation Board IF he is going to put his personal business interests in front of the citizens he represents. Absolutely shameful!