Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Draft Of Update To Oconee County Comprehensive Plan Proposes Changes To Land Use Map

***Development On U.S. 78***

Citizen members of the Stakeholders Committee working on an update to the Oconee County Comprehensive Plan have received a draft of the plan for review that makes a number of changes to the county’s land use map.

Included in those changes is an increase from 12 to 20 in the number of Character Areas for the county.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mars Hill Road Phase I Widening Is On Schedule, Oconee County Citizen Committee Members Told

***Next Phase Also Progressing***

Construction of Phase I of the Mars Hill Road/Experiment Station Road project is on schedule, and county leaders are hopeful that construction on Phase II will begin as work on Phase I is completed at the end of May of next year.

Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara gave that report to the Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning last week.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fishing Enthusiasts And Paddlers Will Have Access To Hard Labor Creek Reservoir In January

***Date Not Yet Set***

Area fishermen and fisherwomen as well as kayakers and canoeists will have a new lake to explore early next year.

The Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir in southeastern Walton County is still filling, but Project Manager Jimmy Parker told the reservoir Management Board last week that he expects the lake will be open for allowed recreational use shortly after the first of the year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Oconee County Development Authority Subcommittee Not Unified On How To Respond To Prospect For Gateway Park

***Sell Land Or Lease Building?***

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Subcommittee on the Gateway Technology and Business Park met for nearly an hour on Monday without producing any sign of consensus on how to respond to an expression of interest for land in the Gateway property.

Rick Waller, who is chair of the IDA, favors constructing a building to sell or lease to the possible tenant as a way for the IDA to make money.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Oconee County Board Of Education Gives Final Approval To Redistricting Plan For System’s Elementary Schools

***No Parents Showed Up To Protest***

The Oconee County Board of Education voted unanimously tonight (Monday) to approve the redistricting plan put forward by school administrators on Sept. 18 to accommodate the new Dove Creek Elementary school set to open next academic year.

None of the parents of students currently in Malcolm Bridge Elementary School who will be moved to Rocky Branch Elementary School next year spoke up at the meeting, though they registered their unhappiness with the plan at a meeting with the Board on Oct. 10.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority To Discuss Constructing And Leasing A Building At Its Business Park

***Three Prospects Noted***

A subcommittee of the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority is meeting tomorrow (Monday) to discuss how to respond to expressions of interest from at least three companies in the county’s Gateway Technology Business Park on SR 316 on the southern edge of Bogart.

J.R. Charles, Oconee County Economic Development director, told the IDA members at their regular meeting last month of the “prospect activity” regarding Gateway by three companies he identified only by code name.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Oconee County Commission Awards Bid For Demolition Of Old Jail As Part Of Expansion Of Courthouse In Watkinsville

***Security Upgrade***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night awarded a bid of $92,000 to Complete Demolition Services LLC of Carrollton for demolition of the Old Jail located behind the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

Commissioner William “Bubber” Wilkes cast the sole negative vote on the contract after Commission Chair John Daniell argued that expansion of the Courthouse into the space now occupied by the unused jail will provide for the needs of court services to at least 2050.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Oconee County Board Of Education Members Offer Support For Elementary School Redistricting Plan

Vote Next Week

The Oconee County Board of Education gave no indication at its work session on Monday that it is likely to ask the administration of the county school system to modify the proposed redistricting plan for the county’s elementary schools.

Board Chair Tom Odom and Board members Tim Burgess and Wayne Bagley did ask questions of the school administration reflecting the comments made by citizens about the plan at the Board’s Oct. 10 Listening Session.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Democrats Win Special Elections in House Districts 117 And 119, With Clarke County Voters Dominating

***Reverses Republican Redistricting***

Oconee County voters turned out in big numbers on election day, with a plurality picking Democrat Jonathan Wallace to represent voters in Georgia House District 119 and a majority picking Houston Gaines to represent voters in Georgia House District 117.

Wallace won strongly in the Clarke County part of the evenly split 119th District, ending with 56.7 percent of the votes in the unofficial tally--enough to avoid a runoff on Dec. 5.

Democrat Deborah Gonzalez dominated voting in Clarke County, giving her 53.1 percent of the votes in the 117th, which, in addition to Clarke County and Oconee County, includes parts of Barrow and Jackson counties.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Oconee County Commissioners Being Asked To Consider Slab Construction For Malcom Bridge Road Subdivision

***Rejected In 2007***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners tomorrow (Tuesday) night will be asked to decide if it wants to modify its 2007 rezone for a 100-acre subdivision on Malcom Bridge Road to accommodate the request of the developer to allow construction on raised slabs.

The Board of Commissioners in 2007 specifically stated that all houses constructed within the development were to be built using a crawl space or basement foundation, and the current land owners are asking the Board to overturn that decision.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Individual Sessions Held For Four Candidates For Georgia House District 119 Offer Insights Into Their Characteristics

***Spread Across Campaign***

In individual sessions held with the Oconee County Area Republicans in recent weeks, the three Republican candidates in the special election on Tuesday for Georgia House District 119 have shown rather different characteristics.

Tom Lord took few firm stands in a session with a small number of Republicans gathered on Sept. 30, using the 50 minutes given him instead to get feedback and suggestions from those who turned out to meet him. He focused on his trustworthiness and his conservative values.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Early Voting Ends With Fewer Than 5,000 Voters Casting Ballots In House District 117 And House District 119 Races

***Few Barrow And Jackson Voters***

A total of 4,798 voters cast ballots in early voting that ended today (Friday) for the special elections for Georgia House District 117 and Georgia House District 119.

House District 117, which includes parts of Barrow, Clarke, Jackson and Oconee counties, had 2,165 voters, while House District 119, split equally between Clarke and Oconee counties, had 2,633 votes cast.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Work On Oconee County Comprehensive Plan Update For 2018 Moves Into Final Stages

***Some Issues Unresolved***

Planner Justin Crighton, having completed meetings in the last two weeks with the three subcommittees working on the update to the Oconee County Comprehensive Plan, now has the task of assembling the citizen input into a draft report.

Crighton, with the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, has promised to present the draft to the full Stakeholders Committee on Nov. 20, but he’ll have to resolve some differences in opinion among the Committee members before that time.