Monday, May 01, 2017

Oconee County Commissioners To Consider Expansion Plans For Campground Outside Bishop

Also Solicitation Ordinance

Oconee County commissioners tomorrow (Tuesday) night will consider a rezone request for expansion of Pinelake Campground west of Bishop as part of a lighter-than-usual agenda.

Most of the important items under consideration, in fact, already have been given tentative approval and are on the consent agenda, meaning they will be voted on en masse unless a commissioner asks for discussion.

Included on the consent agenda is a new ordinance the Board of Commissioners has considered at the request of Sheriff Scott Berry that will buck the national anti-regulatory trend and greatly restrict the activities of door-to-door sales people in the county.

The ordinance will have no effect on solicitation by charitable groups.

Pinelake Expansion

Josh and Jo Anna Evans are asking the Board to approve a special use to allow for a recreational vehicle park on 16.8 acres currently zoned as agricultural at the corner of High Shoals Road and Adams Road.

Sign On Adams Road

Josh Evans is president of Pinelake Campground LLC, which also owns 19.4 acres west of the proposed recreational vehicle park, according to county tax records.

The existing campground is built around two small lakes on those 19.4 acres

Pinelake Campground is seeking to build 34 gravel campsites for recreational vehicles, five cabins, and a bath house on the 16.8-acre-parcel.

An existing house and mobile home on the property will remain and be converted into rental cabins.

Planning Commission Approval

Entrance to the recreational vehicle park will be off High Shoals Road.

The facility will be served by a well and a private septic system.

The county planning staff recommended approval with conditions, including a prohibition against loudspeakers and public address systems, restrictions on lighting, and the stipulation that recreational vehicles, campers and boats cannot be stored in the park.

At the Planning Commission meeting on April 17, four people spoke against the special use request, raising concerns about traffic and ground water pollution, according to draft minutes of that meeting.

The Planning Commission voted 8-1 to recommend that the Board of Commissioners approve the special use request.

Sheriff’s Request

The Board of Commissioners took up the solicitation ordinance at its March 28 meeting at the suggestion of County Attorney Daniel Haygood.

Haygood told the commissioners that Sheriff Berry had asked that the county adopt the ordinance.

The Commission gave first reading to the ordinance at its meeting on April 4 and second reading at its meeting last week, April 25.

Berry has never appeared before the body to explain the need for the ordinance.

Solicitation Ordinance

The six-page ordinance states that “No person is allowed to engage in solicitation via door-to-door sales in Oconee County without first obtaining a permit in accordance with the provisions contained in this article.”

The ordinance states that “The requirement of a permit is meant to apply to door-to-door solicitations for commercial transactions for profit only. The requirement is not meant to regulate solicitation for charitable, political or other nonprofit purposes provided that all sales proceeds are the property of and used by the nonprofit organization.”

All requests for a permit must be provided to the Sheriff’s Office at least 15 days but no more than 60 days prior to the date of the requested activity. The Sheriff is to issue a decision no later than one week prior to the scheduled solicitation.

The applicant must pay an application fee of $50 to cover the cost of investigation and an additional $50 permit fee, for a total of $100.

Permits are for a period of two weeks and can be renewed only once during the calendar year, for a $50 renewal fee.

No one has spoken for or against the ordinance at any of the BOC meetings where it has been discussed, though farmland advocate Russ Page, who lives in Victoria Station subdivision east of Watkinsville, did ask at the meeting last week if the ordinance would apply to people who drive through neighborhoods selling pine straw.

The answer was affirmative.

Consent Items

Other items on the consent agenda tomorrow night include a revision to the county’s Alcohol Beverages Ordinance to lower from 25 to 21 the age allowed for those holding an alcohol license in the county and from 19 to 18 the age of servers.

Another agenda item is for a change order to increase the cost of a segment of the McNutt Creek sewer line by $820,000 to allow for construction of a tunnel under SR Loop 10 rather than the originally proposed bore.

The contractor does not believe it will be possible to bore under the roadway. The additional cost of the tunnel had been included as an option in the original bid.

The Board also will approve the 2017-2018 County Road Patching and Resurfacing Program at a cost of $1, 842, 659.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

No comments: