Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Oconee County Commissioners Pass Over Volunteers At Animal Shelter In Appointments To Animal Control Advisory Board

Also Rezoned Three Properties

Oconee County commissioners tonight turned down the applications for appointment to the Animal Control Advisory Board of two women who have played leadership roles among volunteers at the Animal Shelter.

The commissioners instead reappointed Janet Calpin to a two-year term on the Advisory Board. Calpin has been a critic of the Animal Control Department’s adoption program run by the volunteers.

The commissioners also appointed Philip D. Freshley, an environmental scientist, to the Advisory Board.

Freshley said in his application he was moving to semi-retirement and “will have time available." Freshley said he had been encouraged to apply for the opening by former Advisory Board member Mary Mahaffey, another critic of the Animal Control Department.

In other action tonight, the Board approved three rezone requests, two in or near the quickly developing Oconee Connector and Virgil Langford Road intersection, and selected a firm to provide architectural and planning services for renovation and security upgrades to the Courthouse.

The actual work to be done at the Courthouse is a secret, as is the cost of the contract approved.

Animal Control

The county had 10 applications for the two openings on the Animal Control Advisory Board, including from Wendy Jackson, 1050 Campbellton Place outside Watkinsville, and Kimberly Keegan, 1230 Scotland Bend, also outside Watkinsville.

Jackson is special events coordinator for the Oconee County Animal Shelter and Keegan is the coordinator of the highly successful foster program run by the Animal Control Department.

Both had applied a year ago for appointment to the Advisory Board and been turned down.

Jackson said in her application this year that she had gained valuable experience in fundraising and marketing that she wanted to share with the Advisory Board.

Keegan said she wanted to facilitate communication between the Board of Commissioners and the Animal Control Department.

Appointment Procedure

At the meeting of the Board of Commissioners on March 29, Calpin, Freshley, Jackson, Keegan and three of the other 10 applicants appeared before the Board of Commissioners and stated their case for appointment to the Advisory Board. Freshley’s comments are in the video below.

OCO: Freshley On Application from Lee Becker on Vimeo

Commissioner Jim Luke missed that March 29 meeting because of illness. Post 2 on the Commission is vacant.

After the March 29 meeting, Commissioner William “Bubber” Wilkes and Commissioner Mark Saxon joined Commission Chairman Melvin Davis in executive session, where appointments to citizen committee are discussed.

At the meeting tonight, Saxon made the motion to appoint Calpin and Freshley to the Animal Control Advisory Board, and Luke seconded. Wilkes missed the meeting because of a funeral.

Luke and Saxon then voted unanimously to appoint Calpin, 2290 Antioch Church Road in the south of the county, and Freshley, 1901 Cedar Road, also in the south of the county, to the Advisory Board.

The appointments virtually guarantees that Animal Control Executive Director Catlyn Vickers will continue to have an Advisory Board that is unsupportive of her efforts to toughen the county’s Animal Control Ordinance and expand its rescue program.

Calls Creek Comments

In the citizen comment section of the meeting tonight, Tony Greco, 1071 Winthrop Place, outside Watkinsville, told the Board that a citizens group called Friends of Calls Creek has continued to monitor discussion of the proposed sewer pipeline down the creek.

Greco said he believed there were viable alternatives, including construction of a new sewer plant on the Middle Oconee River.

Colin Huff, 1061 Winthrop Place, also spoke in opposition to the sewer pipeline.

“I know the county needs to come to some kind of a conclusion with this pipeline,” he said. “I hope we can come up with a better solution than going down Calls Creek.”


The Board of Commissioners approved the request of Linda S. Abney et al. to rezone 1.5 acres on the southwest corner of that intersection for a Pinnacle Bank.

The commissioners also approved a request by E.A. Development LLC to rezone .6 acres on the northeast corner of Virgil Langford Road and Jennings Mill Road. That parcel will be combined with a larger track and used for future commercial development.

The Board also approved the request by Green Tree Metals LLC to rezone 8.2 acres on Mars Hill Road west of U.S. 78 for an architectural and structural metals manufacturing operation.

The Board placed a condition on the Green Tree Metals rezone that at least some of the frontage of the building facing Mars Hill Road be something other than metal.

Overlay District

The Board also voted to amend the county’s Unified Development Code to create an overlay district for the Mars Hill Road corridor.

The version approved by the Board was a greatly stripped down version of the ordinance drafted by Bill Ross, hired by the county as a consultant on the project.

The amendment to the code will set standards for signs, the interconnection of parking lots, and roadway access.

Dropped from the plans were most of the restrictions on land use included in the earlier versions of the document.


The Commissioner awarded the architectural and planning services contract for the Courthouse security renovation to Precision Planning Inc., with offices in Monroe.

The firm was one of four that bid on the contract.

County Finance Director Wes Geddings said a review team had picked PPI from the others on a variety of criteria.

Because the project is a secret for security reasons, the request for qualifications did not spell out what work was to be done, and nothing was said of that at the meeting tonight.

The Commissioners approved the project without even knowing the cost.


Anonymous said...

Bubba, Mark and Melvin -- 'nuff said. THE THREE ------------- (you fill in the blank)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Blind mice

Anonymous said...

"Coins in the Fountain" ?

Sarah V. Bell said...

So this is what we have come down to: appointing those who will continue the problems on Animal Control instead of those who are working to solve the problems at Animal Control. Such a move repudiates many citizens who have begged the BOC to do something constructive about the shameful state of that Board. It makes no sense IF the BOC is trying to protect both the people and pets (and the strays) in Oconee County. And they did it AGAIN! They made a mess of the Board, but could not see the way to make it better, even after having it explained carefully, repeatedly, and clearly by those who know: the ones doing the work needed. Amazing is one word. There are others.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"Amigos", yes,thats it!

Anonymous said...

Fools on the hill.