Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Oconee County Commission Votes To Oppose House And Senate Bills Prohibiting Local Regulation Of Housing Standards

***Local Legislators Targeted***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night unanimously passed a resolution opposing House Bill 302 and identical Senate Bill 172 that would prohibit local governments from regulating design standards on one and two-family residential properties.

The resolution is directed at Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, who represent Oconee County in the Georgia House, and Sen. Bill Cowsert, who represents the county in the Senate. All are Republicans, as are the five Oconee County commissioners.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Oconee County Commissioners Criticize House Bill 302 At Town Hall Meeting, Discuss Plans For Internet

***Pickleball Also A Topic***

Oconee County commissioners used the Town Hall meeting on Tuesday night to vent their frustration with proposed House Bill 302, which would prohibit them for imposing design standards on one and two-family residential properties as part of zoning.

Commission Chair John Daniell said the bill “will be a serious impact” on the county’s ability to make the recently adopted county Comprehensive Plan “a reality.”

Friday, February 22, 2019

GDOT Announces Public Meetings On U.S. 441 Widening and Bishop Bypass

***Maps Unchanged***

The Georgia Department of Transportation has scheduled two meetings in March to give the public the opportunity to review plans for the widening of U.S. 441 from Madison to Watkinsville.

The plans the public will review are the same as those presented by GDOT last year and include the close-in, two-lane truck bypass on the east side of Bishop.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Georgia House Committee Passes Bill Prohibiting Cities And Counties From Regulating Family Dwellings

***Oconee And Clarke Counties Targeted***

The Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee of the Georgia House of Representatives voted 6-5 Wednesday morning to pass House Bill 302 prohibiting local governments from regulating building design of one or two-family dwellings.

The vote followed a discussion of more than an hour that was dominated by the building industry in the state, with speakers strongly favoring the bill and criticizing local regulations of residential housing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Commercial Subdivision On SR 316 At Mars Hill Road Will Be Back Before Oconee County Commissioners For Variance Request

***Plans Changed After Initial Rezone***

When, in July of 2016, Scott Boswell wanted to move his electrical and communications supply store from Athens to nearly 30 acres at the intersection of Mars Hill Road and SR 316, he needed to have the land rezoned from its agricultural to a highway business classification.

As a part of the rezone application, Boswell submitted a concept plan showing a 9,600 square foot building at the rear of the wooded property, near McNutt Creek.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Gaines And Wiedower Undecided On House Bill 302, Noting “Concerns” In Oconee And Clarke Counties

***Waiting On Committee Process***

Houston Gaines and Marcus Wiedower, who represent Oconee County in the Georgia House of Representatives, say they were asked to join as sponsors of House Bill 302, which would greatly restrict local regulation of one and two-family housing, but they declined.

The two said in a joint statement that “before supporting this bill, we want to fully understand the impact it may have” and that they will follow the bill “as it moves through the committee process.” Both are Republicans.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Georgia House Members Seek To Block Local Governments From Regulating Design Of Residential Housing

***Oconee County’s Foundation Rules A Target***

A bipartisan group of six members of the Georgia House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances regulating building design for one and two-family housing.

The proposed law is far reaching and has been called “mammoth pre-emptive legislation” by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia. It also is opposed by the Georgia Municipal Association.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Oconee County Schools Report Nearly 14 Percent Increase In Sales Tax Revenue

***Compared With Year Earlier***

Oconee County Schools have collected nearly $7.9 million in the first year of the Education Local Option Sales Tax approved by voters in 2017, Saranna Charping, school chief financial officer, told the Board of Education on Monday.

Revenue collected from the sales tax between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018–the first year the tax was in place--was up 13.5 percent over revenue in the last year of the preceding tax referendum, according to the report Charping gave the Board.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Oconee County Holds Public Hearing On Senior Center Expansion As Step In Application For Federal Funds

***Larger Turnout Than Expected***

Thirty-one people showed up last week for what was billed as a public hearing on the county’s plans to apply for funding to expand the Oconee County Senior Center.

Monica Sagastizado, a consultant for the county in its bid for the federal funds for the project, said the turnout was more than she expected and that it showed a high level of support for the project in the county.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Oconee County To Decommission Rocky Branch Road Sewer Line To Protect Barber Creek

***Divert Sewage To Watkinsville***

Oconee County will decommission its 10-inch force main sewer line running along Rocky Branch Road on its way to the Land Application Site near North Oconee High School to avoid future spills into Barber Creek.

Justin Kirouac, county administrator, announced the plans at the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday night.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Oconee County Commission Approves Revised IT And New Social Media Policies

***Requires Administrator Approval Of Accounts***

Oconee County commissioners gave tentative approval on Tuesday to a modified county policy for information technology and established for the first time a policy for social media use by county employees and volunteers acting on behalf of the county.

The social media policy concentrates authority in the hands of County Administrator Justin Kirouac, who must approve creation and use of departmental social media accounts or designate someone to approve them.