ELLIJAY, GA – Rezonings and LMIG took a large portion of the Board of Commissioners November Meetings as opposition and details came in abundance for both.
A request to rezone for Lalit Devgan, Tax Map 3150 Parcel 007a, wanted to add a conditional use to the R-1 Residential Zoning. The conditional use would allow for a bed and breakfast home. Though Devgan and the Realtor spoke on behalf of the Bed and Breakfast, numerous others spoke against it. Bill Craig spoke at the meeting about a petition with over 20 names set against the rezone.
Craig also noted the county definition of a bed and breakfast home states the owner must live in the building while maintaining short overnight stays for no more than four guests. Craig and others noted that Devgan openly admitted he would not continually occupy the house as his family lives in Atlanta.
While the idea of “owner occupied” could be overcome by giving a share of the business to a manager. Still more citizens spoke about the business and their opposition to it. Aiden Stuart spoke on the concept of wanting to maintain his area outside of the city to be non-commercial. Saying he moved to Gilmer for the mountain home, he opposed the rezoning as it would be changing the concept of his neighborhood.
As the Commissioners debated the rezoning request, Chairman Charlie Paris stated he would vote to protect what the citizens believe to keep the rural parts of the county in a rural setting. Opposing the rezoning, Paris stated that citizens who move to the county and “do their homework,” to see that the entire surrounding area is marked R1 for a residential zone, want to avoid something commercial coming in later, “I think we have an obligation to protect that for them.”
Post Commissioner Dallas Miller noted he believed the ordinance should be changed to avoid the commercialization of residential zones, but as the ordinance currently stands, he could not vote against it as it is allowed by the ordinance. The application being “pretty cut and dry,” he would have to allow it as a Commissioner. While he noted he really did not want to vote either way, he was not allowed to abstain, therefore voting in favor of the rezoning.
Post Commissioner Travis Crouch also noted the land use ordinance, stating a bed and breakfast home was in the ordinance as an allowed conditional use. He stated he felt conflicted over the issue, but weighing in the ordinance and the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board as a unanimous decision to approve, Crouch voted in favor of the rezoning.
With the vote, Chairman Paris actually first moved to deny the request, but had no second. Therefore, his motion died. Crouch then motioned to approve with a second from Miller. The final vote came 2-1 with Paris being the dissenting vote.
Another major issue discussed over the month’s meetings came through next year’s LMIG. The County received estimates for the LMIG funds, along with the currently awarded bids for materials next year. Public Works Director Jim Smith originally gave a list of roads he recommended to pave next year. However, seeing the bids in the work session, Smith recalculated and returned to the Regular Session to estimate the county will be able to re-pave 7.63 miles of road in the unincorporated areas. Especially citing stone increasing by a dollar per ton, Asphault increasing on the 12.5 milmeter super pave by $3.76 per ton, and Emulsion expected to increase even after rebidding, Smith recommended the following roads for LMIG next year: Tower Road, Johnson Mill Road, Blackberry Mountain Road, Pisgah Road, and Cherokee Drive in addition to the second half of the Mountaintown Road as Phase 2 from this years paving.
The 2018 LMIG will also return to County Personnel laying and paving the roads as opposed to bidding the projects this year to free up resources and people to continue working on the Cherry Log Fire Station.
The Board also approved an offer for Duplicating Processes for a new copier contract as seen below. The Commissioners noted that several private entities in the county use this company as well as certain offices in the county who already use them.
Additionally in the meeting, the Commissioners appointed Max Holstein to the Whitepath Golf Course Advisory Board. Though the Commissioners originally had another candidate, Chairman Paris noted he would like to not fill the Board with locals around the Golf Course, but instead maintain a variety of people from across the county.
ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners approved Materials Bids for the coming 2018 year. After accepting bids for the five areas, only one has been rejected.
Emulsion was the one rejected bid. Hudson Materials delivered a bid to the county for emulsion over $1.50 for all three of their materials. Deemed higher than expected, the commissioners voted to reject this bid. Chairman Paris assured those present there would be enough time to rebid this before the new year.
C.W. Matthews Contracting Company out of Marietta, Georgia, was awarded the county’s asphalt bid for materials ranging between $55 to $62 for 2018. Increases in these prices are also affecting paving projects and the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) for 2018 as Public Works Director Jim Smith estimated the county will be able to pave 7.63 miles with LMIG next year.
West Block Company was awarded its bid for concrete, beating Wayne Davis Concrete Company. Though discussion arose on certain aspects of the bid such as a “truck time charge after one hour,” the commissioners ultimately awarded the bid after continued investigation still resulted with West Block being the lower bid.
Another contested bid came with propane. Though Heritage Propane delivered a fixed price bid of $1.49 per gallon, they were largely outbid by Appalachian Propane at $1.08 per gallon.
The final bid, stone, was another uncontested bid, same as it was last year, by Vulcan Materials Company. With prices ranging between $15 and $30 depending on the grade and type of stone, Director Smith also reports this is another bid continuing to increase costs for the county in the coming year.
As the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners continue moving to construct the Cherry Log Fire Station, new issues and obstacles arise.
Bidding out their project to clear the land that the Fire Station will sit on, Commissioner Charlie Paris reports they received only one bid. That $295,468.25 bid from BM&K Construction and Engineering, out of Braselton, was deemed unacceptable by the Commissioners. Paris stated that he is expecting to return to the idea of utilizing county workers to clear the land and expects a far reduced price because of it.
However, currently, capital projects like this cannot use a single vendor to purchase over $20,000 within the year without bidding according to county ordinances.
The Commissioners have called a special meeting on June 21 to address this issue with a possible change to the ordinance to specifically allow capital projects, like the Fire Station, that have been fully approved by the Board of Commissioners and already within the budget to increase that cap for vendors without bidding.
Chairman Paris stated that the Fire Station is budgeted around $350,000 and even if this change passes, that would not change. Instead, they would be using the budgeted money in the same manner as they budgeted, but with set vendors for materials needed as the county completes the clearing project.
When asked why the Commissioners were considering the change, Paris stated that the completion date, set for June 1, would likely be pushed back if they had to bid out each material needed and he did not expect a vast difference in costs. Since the project has already seen delays from last year, Paris did not want this project to take any more time than necessary as he said he had promised the people of Cherry Log that he would have a fire station for them.
He also stated he didn’t want to have the fire station become like the Clear Creek Ball fields and take years to complete.
The Board has already approved advertisement of this ordinance change and is meeting on the 21st to discuss and detail parameters such as what amount of money would be acceptable for this one exception to the ordinance to be set at.
If the change is set during the meeting on the 21st, then citizens could expect the first reader to appear in July’s Commissioner’s Meeting depending on when the advertisement is set to meet the 14 day requirement.