Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Oconee County Commissioners Let Proposal For Reconnecting Old Mars Hill Road Die Without Discussion

No Citizen Response Allowed

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners tonight let die without comment the proposal to reconnect Old Mars Hill Road with Mars Hill Road proper.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis, who initiated the redesign of the roadway to allow for the connection, brought the proposal before the other commissioners, but none of them wanted to go forward with it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Adoptions Increased 159 Percent Since Oconee County Animal Control Began Foster Program

More Animals Kept Alive

In Fiscal Year 2013, the year before the Oconee County Animal Control Department began its foster program, it euthanized 1.4 animals for every animal it was able to adopt out.

In Fiscal Year 2015, the first full year of operation of the adoption program, Animal Control reversed the ratio, adopting out 1.8 animals for every one it euthanized.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Oconee County Utility Department Director Offers Support For Local Citizen Group’s Effort At Stream Monitoring

Answers Citizen Questions

Wayne Haynie, director of the Oconee County Utility Department, told the 25 people who turned out on Thursday night at the Oconee County Library to discuss water quality in county streams that he wants to partner with them.

It was the first time a county official has met with the public to discuss sewer issues since serious problems with the county’s sewerage treatment plants were revealed in late May, and Haynie used the opportunity to present the image of a Utility Department that is responding to those problems.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Oconee County Commissioners To Consider Old Mars Hill Road Reconnection On Tuesday

Despite Opposition

Despite overwhelming opposition from the 50 people who turned out at a public hearing earlier this week on reconnecting Old Mars Hill Road to the new Mars Hill Road, the Oconee County Board of Commissioners has the proposed road project on the agenda for discussion on Tuesday night.

County Public Works Director Emil Beshara is scheduled to discuss the potential reconnection of Old Mars Hill Road early in the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Three Separate Samples From Oconee County’s Calls Creek Show Higher Bacteria Levels Downstream From Sewer Spill Than Upstream

Meeting Tomorrow Night

Three different samples drawn from Calls Creek following the sewage spill in the Watkinsville Cemetery on Sept. 10 show higher levels of bacteria downstream from the spill than upstream, though the differences have decreased over time.

Data gathered by volunteers from the Upper Oconee Watershed Network on Sept. 17 showed E. coli bacteria levels downstream just higher than those upstream and the level in the tributary into which the raw sewage flowed to be the lowest of the three readings.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Oconee County Citizens Voice Opposition To Plans To Reopen Connection Of Old Mars Hill Road To New Road Under Construction

Followed Vote Against Rezone

About 50 citizens turned out at a meeting in Veterans Park tonight to tell the Oconee County Board of Commissioners how they feel about a proposal to reopen the connection between Old Mars Hill Road and the new Mars Hill Road now under construction.

All but one of those present said they are opposed to the project.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Oconee County To Hold Hearing On Commercial Development On Old Mars Hill Road It Rejected in 1999

Ownership Changed

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners decided back in 1999 that a key piece of property along what is now Old Mars Hill Road should not be rezoned for commercial use because it would adversely affect nearby Oak Ridge subdivision.

The effect of commercial development of property on Old Mars Hill Road is likely to be one issue that will come up on Tuesday night when the Board of Commissioners holds a public hearing on a proposal to make Old Mars Hill Road a cut through at the Mars Hill Road Oconee Connector intersection.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rezone Request For Mars Hill Road Highlights Pressure For Commercial Development On The Oconee County Corridor

Follows Session On Overlay

Residents along Mars Hill Road–fresh from a four-hour session on future land use along the roadway–will have another opportunity to express their views on future development in their neighborhoods on Monday night.

The Oconee County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing that night on a proposal by one of the land owners to move forward with a rezone of property even before the county takes action on an overlay district it is considering for the corridor.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mars Hill Road In Future Could Look Like Epps Bridge Parkway Of Today, Planner Told Commissioners

Overlay Discussions Continue

Oconee County Strategic and Long-Range Planning Director Wayne Provost told Oconee County commissioners back in January that they could get an idea of what Mars Hill Road could look like in the future by looking at Epps Bridge Parkway today.

Provost said that the county promoted development along Epps Bridge Parkway between SR Loop10 and the county line at McNutt Creek by its investment in water, sewer and transportation infrastructure.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Oconee County Reporting Another Sewer Spill, This Time Inside City Of Watkinsville

Faulty Float Switch Blamed

Oconee County is reporting yet another sewage spill–this one inside the city limits of Watkinsville and into a tributary of Calls Creek.

The sewage spill is the second reported by the county in three weeks and sixth since the first of the year.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Oconee County Consultant To Unveil Implementation Details For Mars Hill Road Overlay District At Rescheduled Meeting

Format Changed As Well

Consultant Bill Ross is expected on Thursday to unveil details for implementation of an overlay district for Mars Hill Road when he meets from 3 to 7 p.m. with Oconee County citizens at the Community Center in Veterans Park.

The overlay district proposes land use that is at odds in significant ways with the county’s future development map, approved by the county in February of 2008 under Ross’ guidance.

Friday, September 11, 2015

North Carolina Company Putting Together Plans For Oconee County Health Park With Athens Regional Medical Facility As Anchor Tenant

Construction Underway

A North Carolina real estate development company that specializes in medical office projects is putting together plans for what it is calling a health park on 14 acres at the corner of Jennings Mill Road and Virgil Langford Road.

Athens Regional Health System, parent company of Athens Regional Medical Center, will be the tenant in the first building in the proposed seven-building complex, according to architectural plans submitted to the Oconee County Planning Department.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Oconee County Code Enforcement Removed Boswell Signs--Again--And County Signs As Well

Last Removal In December

Oconee County Code Enforcement once again has taken down signs owned by Boswell Properties that violated the county sign ordinance and were in the intersection of SR 316 and the Oconee Connector.

It also took down signs owned by the county’s Industrial Development Authority that also were in the state right of way and violated the county’s sign ordinance.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Sample From Tributary Of Barber Creek That Received Oconee County Sewer Spill Shows Excessively High Levels Of E. Coli Bacteria

Volunteer Effort

Volunteers with the Upper Oconee Watershed Network have found excessively high levels of E. coli bacteria in a water sample drawn late last week from the unnamed tributary to Barber Creek that received raw sewage from a spill on Aug. 21.

The volunteers also reported excessively high and roughly equal levels of the bacteria in Barber Creek itself below the inflow from the tributary and upstream from the inflow from the tributary, suggesting that the spill has not had lasting negative impact on Barber Creek.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

GDOT Has Decided Not To Fund Widening Of Jimmy Daniell Road Despite Oconee County Approval Of Contract

Problems With Funding Sources

The Georgia Department of Transportation has decided not to fund the widening of Jimmy Daniell Road, nullifying the project framework agreement signed by Oconee County in December of last year.

GDOT took this action because Oconee County never specified where it was going to find the $1.15 million estimated cost to the county for right of way acquisition for the project.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Oconee County Expects Upgrade To Hog Mountain Road And U.S. 441 Intersection To Be Completed By End Of Month

Waiting On GDOT

The county is expecting that the improvements to the intersection of the Hog Mountain Road and U.S. 441, now underway, will be completed by the end of the month, according to Emil Beshara, county Public Works director.

The roadwork will produce two left-turn lanes from Hog Mountain Road to U.S. 441 and a turn lane into the RaceTrac station for traffic heading west on Hog Mountain Road from U.S. 441. RaceTrac is on the southwest corner of the intersection.