Sunday, September 30, 2018

Cell Tower On McRees Mill Road Gets Required Permit From Oconee County Commission

***Court Ruling Dictated Decision***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night took the unusual step of holding a zoning hearing at its agenda setting meeting and approved the issuance of a special use permit for a telecommunications tower on McRees Mill Road off Barnett Shoals Road.

The Board took that action following a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta overturning the Board’s denial in 2014 of the permit for Verizon Wireless on 42 acres at 1210 McRees Mill Road.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Oconee County Planning Commission Approves Townley Request For Car Museum And Events Venue

***Rejects Staff Recommendations***

Oconee County planners told the county’s Planning Commission last week that they were recommending approval of Tony Townley’s request for a car museum on 11.1 acres surrounding by farmland only on the condition that it not include an events venue.

The planners said that use of the land on Snows Mill Road at Cole Springs Road for public events is incompatible with surrounding land use and that the 151 parking spaces are sufficient for the Museum and existing office but not for events that could attract large numbers of visitors.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Oconee County Reports Sewer Spill Into Tributary Of Barber Creek At Rocky Branch Road

***Fourth Spill This Year***

Oconee County reported another major sewer spill on Wednesday after discovering that approximately 21,225 gallons of waste water were released into a tributary of Barber Creek at Rocky Branch Road.

The spill, which occurred on Tuesday, was the result of a break in the sewer main due to “pipe fatigue,” according to a news release from the county. The county’s Land Application System site is on Rocky Branch Road and is fed by a sewer line that runs along Rocky Branch Road.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Gaines Has Built Up Big Cash Surplus For His Second Attempt To Gain A Seat In Georgia General Assembly

***Incumbent Gonzalez Won Last Time With Less***

It seems unlikely Republican Houston Gaines will run out of money as he seeks to unseat Democrat Deborah Gonzalez in Georgia House District 117 in November.

Gaines, in his second attempt to win a House seat, was sitting on $169,450 in unspent funds as the election entered its crucial stage this summer.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Oconee County Planning Commission To Consider Proposal For A Car Museum On Former Plant Sciences Farm

Red Barn Part Of Museum

Tony Townley is asking the county to allow him to carve out and rezone 11.1 acres that are part of the Plant Sciences Farm on Snows Mill Road he purchased from the University of Georgia in 2014 so he can turn the property into commercial use.

Townley is proposing to operate what he is calling the Eastville Car Museum to display classic, vintage, and historical automobiles and equipment in buildings already on the property, including the University of Georgia’s Red Barn, which Townley purchased and moved to the site.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Oconee County Schools Added Enough New Students In August To Fill Half Of A K-5 School, Education Board Members Told

***Community Engagement Meeting Announced***

Enrollments at Oconee County Schools increased by 246 students over the last year, marking the fourth straight year that enrollments in the county schools grew by more than 3 percentage points.

Brook Whitmire, chief Human Resources officer for the school system, told the Board of Education on Monday that the growth in enrollments means that the county is adding enough students each year to represent about half of K-5 school.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Students And Community Members Join At North Oconee High School To Honor Victims Of 9/11 Attack

***Sponsored By Young Americans For Freedom***

The event honoring the victims of the terrorist attacks 17 years ago was nonpartisan, North Oconee High School Young Americans for Freedom Chapter Advisor Kirk Shook told the roughly 100 people assembled at the school on Sunday.

To emphasize the point, Shook noted that Democrat Deborah Gonzales, representing the 117th House District in the Georgia General Assembly, was among those gathered to place 2,977 small flags on the school’s lawn to commemorate the victims of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Citizens Voice Concerns At Hearing About Oconee County Sale Of Bonds For Presbyterian Homes

***County Attorney Says No Liability***

Citizens who spoke at the hearing on Thursday regarding the county’s plans to issue $155 million in bonds for Presbyterian Village Athens raised two concerns.

Some said they felt the bonds represented a risk to the county.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Oconee County Board Delays Action On Rezone For Shopping Center At Malcom Bridge School Complex

***2003 And 2004 Rezones At Issue***

Oconee County commissioners Tuesday night delayed until Oct. 2 their decision on a rezone for a proposed shopping center between Lenru Road and Malcom Bridge Road just south of Malcom Bridge Elementary and Malcom Bridge Middle schools.

The commissioners made that decision after receiving only opposition from residents in neighborhoods surrounding the proposed development, hearing from and interacting with the developer, and getting input from county staff.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Hearing On $155 Million Bond Sale For Presbyterian Homes Gives Citizens What May Be Sole Chance To Offer Comment

***Largest Bond Issue To Date***

Oconee County will hold at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Courthouse in Watkinsville what could be the only public hearing on the issuance of $155 million in revenue bonds for Presbyterian Village Athens.

County Attorney Daniel Haygood will serve as the hearing officer at the meeting, which is required by the United States Internal Revenue Service before the county can approve the issuance of the tax-exempt bonds.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Oconee County Commissioners To Consider Zoning Change For Shopping Center Near Malcom Bridge School Complex

***Already Zoned Commercial***

Oconee County commissioners tomorrow (Tuesday) will take up a request to modify zoning for a shopping center on land between Lenru Road and Malcom Bridge Road just south of the Malcom Bridge Middle School.

The 7.5 acre tract has been zoned for commercial use since 2004 but has not been developed and is surrounded by residential and school properties.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Two Democratic Candidates For Oconee County Board of Education Want To Improve Transparency And School Safety

***Schools Are Good But Can Be Better***

Fran Thompson and Andrea Wellnitz told Oconee County Democrats that they are running as a team for spots on the Oconee County Board of Education.

Both said they are seeking to improve transparency in the schools, to guarantee that the school environment is a safe one, and to make sure the schools serve the social and emotional needs of all students.