Gilmer BOE sets 2020 Meeting Dates

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer’s Board of Education is preparing for the new year with set meeting dates and a property purchase offer.

Along with approving Financials, Policy revisits, and Personnel, the board unanimously approved all of its 2020 Meeting Dates and January for 2021.

These 2020 meeting dates are:

Work Session on January 13, Regular Meeting on January 16.
Work Session on February 10, Regular Meeting on February 13.
Work Session on March 16, Regular Meeting on March 19.
Work Session on April 13, Regular Meeting on April 16.
Work Session on May 18, Regular Meeting on May 21.
Work Session on June 22, Regular Meeting on June 25.
Work Session on July 20, Regular Meeting on July 23.
Work Session on August 17, Regular Meeting on August 20.
Work Session on September 21, Regular Meeting on September 24.
Work Session on October 19, Regular Meeting on October 22.
Work Session on November 16, Regular Meeting on November 19.
Work Session on December 14, Regular Meeting on December 17.
Work Session on January 25, 2021, Regular Meeting on January 28, 2021.

Additionally, another approval came this month with the additional vote on an item not mentioned on the agenda. Near the end of their meeting, Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs noted a property the Board has been speaking on in Executive Session before.

The 1.56 acre property is available next to the Clear Creek Campus of Gilmer Schools. Labeled as parcel 3085140A, according to Downs, the Board is looking to purchase the property for future projects.

The offer recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the Board was set at $130,000. With the approval, the offer will move forward to attempt to purchase the land.

Firefighter arrested on Felony Charges in Ellijay

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – An arrest has been made in Ellijay this week on five counts of felony charges. Confirmed to have worked for the Fire Department, Michael Paul Chester was taken into custody by the Ellijay Police Department.

Chester is facing charges of False Imprisonment, Criminal Trespass, Harassing Phone Calls, Terroristic Threats and Acts – Felony, and Criminal Damage to Property – 2nd Degree. Bond was set at $4,500 according to the Booking Report. As of late Thursday night, Chester was still in custody.

As the investigation continues with the Ellijay Police Department, some sources say this is not the first time he has been in trouble and has even received warnings for behavior before, however, authorities have not confirmed these reports or released additional information on the investigation. FYN is currently reaching out to authorities for further details.

Office of Planning&Zoning Approves Six Land Use Ordinance Amendments

News, Planning&Zoning

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the Gilmer County Planning & Zoning meeting held on Thursday, July 18, 2019, the board discussed the following land use ordinance amendments.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Variance Request)

1. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant Name: Richard Sanfilippo
Owner Name: Richard D., Samantha A., & Terry F. Sanfilippo
Owner Address: 219 Man O’ War Circle, Cantonment, FL 32533
Property Location: 657 Nexus Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3039A-095
Size of Property: 1.13 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Build a Residence on Parcel
Variance Requested: 11′ Variance to the 35′ Front Setback

Passed, none oppose. One neighbor called with concerns with it being too close to the road. A present citizen voiced concerns over potential septic tank and trout stream contamination.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning / Conditional Use Request(s))

1. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Hsiao Cai & Amanda Liu
Owner Name: America Dhamma Society, Inc.
Owner Address: 2385 Gates Chapel Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 1975 Old Flat Branch Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3078-007
Size of Property: 6.54 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Retreat for Meditation and Teaching

Tabled until a lawyer is involved, as the board isn’t sure whether or not to classify this as a campground or something else entirely. One citizen concerned about potential traffic increase.

2. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Hsiao Cai & Amanda Liu
Owner Name: The Terrance Hwang Revocable Trust
Owner Address: 2385 Gates Chapel Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 1971 Old Flat Branch Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3078-005
Size of Property: 171.54 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Retreat for Meditation and Teaching

Tabled until a lawyer is involved, as the board isn’t sure whether or not to classify this as a campground or something else entirely.

3. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Mitchell Hensley
Owner Name: Vira Hensley
Owner Address: 319 Pleasant Gap Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 319 Pleasant Gap Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3035-030
Size of Property: 0.33 acre portion
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Combine 0.21 and 0.12 acre Corners with Parcel 3035-029 to Cure Encroachments.

Passed, none oppose. No complaints or questions from neighbors.

4. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Address: 186 Berry Hill Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 0 Lower Tails Creek Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3022I-001
Size of Property: 1.72 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)

Passed, none oppose.

5. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Name: Anthony Arbucci
Owner Address: 186 Berry Hill Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 0 Lower Tails Creek Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3022I-002
Size of Property: 2.16 acres.
Current Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Combine with Parcel 3021-056

Passed, none oppose.

6. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request(s))

Applicant Name: Mike Duke
Owner Name: West Ellijay Storage, LLC.
Owner Address: 88 Brooks Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 0 Harold Pritchett Road. Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3065-123D
Size of Property: 2.0 acres
Current Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial)
Proposed Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial) w/Conditional Use.
Proposed Use of Property: Mini-Warehouse Storage Units

Pass, none oppose. No complaints or questions from neighbors.

7. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))

Applicant Name: Samantha Walker
Owner Name: DF Walker Properties, LLC.
Owner Address: P.O. Box 2001, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 2218 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3081-171C
Size of Property: 2.18 acres
Current Land Use Classification: C-1 (Commercial)

Proposed Land Use Classification: I-1 (Industrial)

Proposed Use of Property: Water Bottling Facility

Approved with condition it is to be used for bottling water only. The water will be brought in by truck, bottled, and then exported by truck. None oppose. No questions or concerns from neighbors.

 

Final / Preliminary Plat Approval: Walker Reserve – Final – The Hammock – Preliminary – Water Song Phase 1 – Preliminary.

Passed, none oppose.
Variances are approved entirely by the board. However, The map amendments for the zoning changes must still be approved by the Board of Commissioners. Be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

The next Planning & Zoning meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 5 pm for those who wish to attend. This meeting is currently expected to be held in the Commissioner’s meeting room of the Gilmer County Courthouse, to the left of the Voter’s Registration Office.

If anyone recognizes what they consider personal information in any of my articles and wishes for it to be removed, please notify fynethanh@gmail.com immediately.

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Tax Assessors Roll Back Decision on Elderly Tax Exemption Changes

Board of Assessors, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Tax Assessors voted to roll back their recent decision on House Bill 1383, which was given the green light during their meeting held on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

This bill ultimately determines what structures on a property are exempt for those 65 years of age or older in regards to the Gilmer County school district ad valorem taxes.

The board did as they informed the public they would do and got advice from Attorney Joe Scheuer of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia regarding the interpretation of the law.

In a three-page document to the board, Scheuer stated that “I believe this question involves a determination that must be made on a case by case basis locally”, but went on to say that “Homestead includes the following qualifications: The actual permanent place of residence, where the building is occupied primarily as a dwelling. In other words, with respect to the home, the exemption is limited to that structure so that attached structures are included; garage, deck, etc. Other structures, such as detached garages, gazebos, etc. are not included. Detached structures, to my knowledge, have never been included as part of the building which is occupied as the primary dwelling, or at least they were not supposed to have been included.”

However, because what this attorney says differs from what the state legislative liaison has said on the matter, County Attorney David Clark believes the board needs an opinion from the attorney general.

Ultimately, due to the two conflicting readings and two entirely different opinions as to how the tax code should be implemented, the board voted in favor of rolling back the decision to uphold the new changes, continuing with the way things were in 2018 until the board receives further clarification.

The issue with this decision, as the board pointed out, is that structures of business such as chicken houses, barns, etc. will be exempt of the school system taxes as they were in 2018.

But because of the deadlines involved, the board decided it would still be easier just to go with the 2018 interpretation without modification.

No further public mailings are required on behalf of the board because of this decision.

The board will be re-examining the definitions of the bill in the near future and hopes to have a definitive interpretation by 2020, so be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

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Office of Planning&Zoning Examines Eight Land Use Ordinance Amendments

News, Planning&Zoning

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the Gilmer County Planning & Zoning meeting held on Thursday, June 20, 2019, the board discussed the following land use ordinance amendments.

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Variance Request)

1. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant name: Candis H. Naquin & Bruce E. Post
Owner Name: Candis H. Naquin & Bruce E. Post
Owner Address: 447 Antler Ridge Rd., Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 447 Antler Ridge Rd., Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3093P-009
Size of Property: 2.22 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Place an approx 16×25 Garage on Parcel
Variance Requested: 35 ‘Variance to the 40’ Rear Setback

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. There is already a level area for a garage on the property.

 

2. Consideration of Land Use Change (Variance Request)

Applicant Name: Ricky Balanno
Owner Name: Pinnacle Home Builders
Owner Address: 4381 Yorkshire Court, Loganville, Ga. 30052
Map and Parcel Number: 3037E-018
Size of Property: 0.58 acres
Current Land Use of Property: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Build a 32×39 Residence on Parcel
Variance Requested: -30 ‘Variance to the 35’ Front Setback

Passed, none oppose. Was requested earlier this year. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning / Conditional Use Request(s))

 

1. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))

Applicant Name: Sheila Miller
Owner Name: Kenneth Richards
Owner Address: 42 Starcraft Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Property Location: 42 Starcraft Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30540
Map and Parcel Number: 3054-011
Size of Property: 0.93 acres
Current Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: R-1 (Residnetial Low Density) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Use RV for Guest Home

Intended for hardship purposes. Passed, none oppose, but once hardship goes, then temporary/conditional use expires. Applicant present but did not speak.

 

2. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))
Applicant Name: Chandra Teague
Owner Name: Chandra Teague
Owner Address: 280 Clear Creek Valley Dr. Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 0 Mulkey Road, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3098-015B
Size of Property: 10.25 acres
Current Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: R-2 (Residential High Density)
Proposed Use of Property: Create subdivision for single family dwellings.

Already has approval from the Water Authority. Seven to eight houses to be added. Owner must install new water main.

 

3. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Rezoning Request(s))
Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: R-1 (Residential Low Density)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Use of Property: Create Agritourism / Lodging Business – Short-Term
Room Accommodations: Event Hosting, and Heritage Homesteading Workshops

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

4. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))
Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Create Agritourism / Lodging Business – Short-Term
Room Accommodations and Heritage Homesteading Workshops

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. Proposed for bike trails, weekend craft activities and farm animal education and interaction.

 

5. Consideration of Application to Amend Gilmer County Land Use Ordinance (Conditional Use Request (s))

Applicant Name: David Hensley
Owner Name: Russell & Tanya Ginger
Owner Address: 320 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Property Location: 280 Turkey Creek Drive, Ellijay, Ga. 30536
Map and Parcel Number: 3130B-019
Size of property: 6.49 acres
Current land use classification: A-1 (Agricultural)
Proposed Land Use Classification: A-1 (Agricultural) w/Conditional Use
Proposed Use of Property: Weddings & Events Venue

No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition. Limited on events size and units are planned for housing families. Tabled until other areas of the property are re-zoned.

 

Final / Preliminary Plat Approval: Walker Reserve – Final – Hidden Lake Phase 8 – Minor subdivision Final

Passed, none oppose. No neighbors sent word of favor or opposition.

 

 

Variances are approved entirely by the board. However, The map amendments for the zoning changes must still be approved by the Board of Commissioners. Be sure to stay tuned for future updates!

The next Planning & Zoning meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, July 18, 2019 for those who wish to attend. This meeting is currently expected to be held in the Jury Assembly room of the Gilmer County Courthouse.

If anyone recognizes what they consider personal information in any of my articles and wishes for it to be removed, please notify fynethanh@gmail.com immediately.

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

Newly-adopted bill ignores certain structures from elderly tax exemptions

Board of Assessors, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – House Bill 1383 was the topic of much debate during the Board of Tax Assessor’s meeting on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

Up until adoption of this bill, those who were 65 years of age or older were exempt from paying the Gilmer County school district ad valorem taxes on their property.

This is still in place. However, this no longer exempts structures that are not considered to be the primary dwelling place of the property owner.

As Chief Appraised Theresa Gooch explained, the interpretation of this bill “Does not include any buildings not attached to the primary residence. It still exempts 100% on the primary home, all of the land and any structures that are attached by a common roof line.”

In short, structures not attached to your home by the roof line are no longer tax exempt.

This would include structures such as wood sheds, barns, out houses, green houses, etc. Whereas in the past, all structures on the entire property were exempt.

According to County Attorney David Clark, “the state is the entity that has guided the board to the specific definition as to what constitutes a homestead.”

The board explained “No one here was associated with the implementation of this bill in ’08. But it was implemented simply by applying the exemption to anyone over 65 who applied for appeals and asked for a homestead. Chicken houses, business’, etc. things that clearly didn’t belong in a homestead were caught up in it. The chicken houses and business’ were cleaned up shortly after that ’08 thing. I don’t even recall what brought this to our attention. But the law says under the definition of the state statute that the dwelling is the exempt item. The land and the residence.”

When asked why it took so long for the board to bring this up, they responded that they honestly weren’t sure, and that it just didn’t come to their attention prior.

Many citizens present were very against this change, however.

Many are concerned that the board simply wants nothing more than to tax them more, with one citizen stating “My neighbor has the same roof line. He has a horse barn. Now we’re not taxing it because it shares the same roof line? What’s next? I move my daughter in the basement, now I’m not occupying it, she is, so you’re going to tax my basement for that? That’s where we could go if we continue to let you erode our rights here. This isn’t right. Let’s stay where we’re at. Manage the money we already give you, and not try to take more away from us. It’s difficult enough as it is living on a fixed income.”

The board voted in favor of this bill under the grounds that they have no choice at this point in time due to digest and submission process timelines.

However, citizens have until Monday, July 1, 2019 to file an appeal with the board, which will likely go to the Board of Equalization and potentially the superior court.

The board also states that they will re-address this issue and give full clarification from the proper state authorities by Tuesday, January 1, 2020.

Stay tuned for developments on this bill as they become known!

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

City Council to condemn two properties

News

Ellijay, Ga. – The Ellijay City Council held a first of two readings of the condemnation of two properties this month, at 47 Boardtown Rd and 292 Cox Creek Rd.

Councilman David Westmoreland noted that some of the issues have “been in disrepair for years.” With the first reading done, the process is underway and action will be taken in February.

The condemnation, according to the ordinances read, will require the property owners to demolish and remove the structures on the properties with sixty days if passed. If not adhered to, the city will remove the structures at the property owners expense.

The two ordinances for reading are below for both properties.

292 Cox Creek Rd

292 Cox Creek Rd

47 Boardtown Rd

47 Boardtown Rd

 

BOE Sets Millage Rate

News
GMP, Coronavirus

Ellijay, Ga. – Holding their special meeting on July 31 after final consolidated numbers became available, the Gilmer County Board of Education presented their 5-year-tax-history and voted on their millage rate.

The 2018 Consolidated Tax Digest showed a 13% increase in real and personal property values and a 20.8% decrease in motor vehicle values. Alongside an increase in exemptions of 14.24%, the overall net increase settled at 11.48%.

Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs informed the board that, through these changes, their calculated rollback rate is 14.458 mill, decreasing from 2017’s 16.12 mill.

Approving the 14.458 mill rollback rate and 5-year-history during their called meeting, the Board is not done with this as they will return for final approval of the 1.662 decrease as the rollback millage rate at their August 23 meeting according to Downs.

Citizens wishing to speak to the board about this topic should contact Dr. Shanna Downs at the Board of Educations Administration and Technology Building (706-276-5000) to sign up to speak at the Regular Meeting or speak at the August 20 Work Session.

Rezoning dominates commissioners meetings

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners spent the majority of their January meetings discussing rezoning requests from citizens.

Though three requests were on the agenda, the two that took the most attention involved a change from R-1 residential low density to A-1 agricultural for Russell Moss Jr. and Vicki Moss (Tax Map 3050K, Parcel 013) as well as an A-1 agricultural to A-1 agricultural with conditional use for Neil Gary (Tax Map 3083, Parcel 034C).

The Moss request involved planning for three structures on the property as Vicki Moss originally stated she wanted to plan on having ultimately one house as well as two tree houses for rent but was not trying to build a trailer park or similar setup. Though she bought the property as R-1 and stating she initially had no thought to change it, Moss stated she had later learned the restrictions of structure numbers for R-1 zone when she thought about building the additional structures.

Moss stated she only wanted to rezone to agricultural to put three structures on the one lot without paying an engineer to subdivide the lot and make room for the structures individually. A sentiment that Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris had earlier, in the commissioners work session, opposed due to making an agricultural lot on a road among numerous other residential lots. Though she stated her intended use, Paris commented he did not want to “open up” the lot to potential uses approved under agricultural with a later owner or something of the sort.

Citizens from the area spoke in opposition to the request as well. Property owner Bill Stucker echoed the chairman’s comments asking for the board to protect them as neighbors and the feel of their neighborhood as it is.

Jason Hoffsteader, owner of 35 acres on Stillwell Road, noted the road’s current condition and narrowness. Noting Moss’ idea of renting properties, he said he was concerned with extra drivers who did not know the road coming through the neighborhood. The extra congestion of continuous “new-to-the-road” drivers could cause added stress of accidents due to the road’s condition. Hoffsteader also noted he chose his location when he bought the property due to large tracts with single houses in the neighborhood.

A very unusual occurrence came as Stillwell resident Albert Goode came to the commissioner’s podium to speak. He asked Moss if he could question her in the meeting. As she agreed, Chairman Paris allowed the questioning in the meeting. However, after roughly five minutes of questioning, Paris stepped in to end the questioning. Though he noted he originally allowed the questioning because he wanted to hear the citizens speak, he directed public comments to return to being addressed to the commissioners.

During the questioning, Goode questioned Moss’ intended uses for the properties she owned in the area. With three properties in total, the issue Goode questioned was having mobile tiny homes on the lots. Goode’s opposition was based on quality of life in the area with the extra buildings in use. Moss informed those present that while the one zone in question was requested for three rental properties, she would be ultimately building her retirement home on one of the other properties. The rental property she wanted to build would also access the creek for floating for anyone renting the property.

Before finalizing their vote 3-0 to deny the request, Post Commissioner Dallas Miller commented saying, “The preponderance of the number of parcels is residential. So, I look at that as a rural part of our county, as a residential, single family, R-1 zoned area … Our job as commissioners, I think, is to preserve, as much as possible, the residential and rural areas of our county.”

Despite the denial, Moss can still return to her property and, having enough space in the lot, subdivide it into three lots to continue forward with her plans for rental property with tiny homes after the commissioners finish their moratorium on tiny homes on wheels.

The second item of note, also denied, came from the rezone request for Neil Gary to add a conditional use on his agricultural zone property. The conditional use was to allow a gun range to be put on the property. The Planning Commission recommended denial of the request.

Paris commented on the item saying, “I support people’s ability to shoot their guns on their property if they can do it safely and without disrupting the lives of their neighbors. I don’t see this particular request as one that would be conducive to a quality of life for the neighbors nearby, and I also don’t see that the standard of safety in an area that congested could be maintained properly.”

Gilmer County Post Commissioner Travis Crouch echoed the sentiments saying, “It is the setting of this particular parcel that brings doubt in my mind … It’s not an opposition to the concept of this business, it’s just the location that I object to.”

In Gary’s application, he noted his “extensive and verifiable backgrounds in special operations, law enforcement and armed security.” Wanting to offer training and services to both law enforcement and civilian clients, Gary stated he wished to offer training in several areas in addition to “how to shoot” including how to carry safely, when not to take one’s gun out, and when not to shoot.

Though denied for the rezone for conditional use, the commissioners noted this application for rezone was for a commercial setup and does not weigh on a person’s personal right to firearms practice and similar activities.

There was also an approved request for Dogwood Financials, LTD, (Tax Map 3082, Parcel 072) to downgrade the plot from R-3 residential multi-family to R-2 high density.

East Ellijay looking at roads in November

News

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga – The East Ellijay City Council met for what became a road-focused meeting on Nov. 14. Three major issues saw progress in the meeting.

East Ellijay tied up the end of their Highland Parkway project. Resolution 17-04 to repave sections of Highland Parkway came with a finished cost close to $9,000 below the expected $131,000. East Ellijay Mayor Mack West reported in their November meeting that the city spent $42,639 from Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) funds for the project. The remaining $79,318 was remitted to the 2004 SPLOST fund, meaning that balance is still just over $100,000. According to West, the city has yet to use the 2014 SPLOST funds.

The City Council also approved their re-striping expenditures with the addition of the thermoplastics. Pro-Stripe, out of Blairsville, finished striping with costs at $8,920. The project included 24 feet of the thermoplastic striping bars, 14 arrows on Highland Parkway, and six arrows at the Highland Crossing intersection. East Ellijay City Manager Mack Wood reported in the meeting that the extra cost for thermoplastics would increase the life span as they are now “interstate quality.”

An additional purchase for roads came with the city’s approval for purchasing speed bumps. The city will be placing these bumps on Greenfield Road. Consistent notes of high speeds past the S-curves were the reason given. Residents close to the city limits, and even some who live past the city limits, have complained for the need of the additions. Purchasing four total bumps, Wood stated the city would be purchasing six-foot long “humps” to be placed on both sides of the roads. The humps are wider than bumps meaning cars should not have the usual issue of the immediate bounce of a smaller bump.

GDOT Work on 515 Slows Traffic

News
Officers direct traffic during the replacement of traffic lights at East Ellijay's 1st Avenue and 515 intersection.

ELLIJAY, GA – For those traveling on Highway 515, you may have been noticing trucks at the intersection of 1st Avenue near Hardee’s.

GDOT workers prepare the 1st Avenue intersection of 515 for new traffic lights.

GDOT workers prepare the 1st Avenue intersection of 515 for new traffic lights.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has changed out the traffic lights with newer models including a flashing yellow turn signal for left turns at the intersection.

Many citizens who have been to Pickens county will recognize the same style of traffic lights as are in use on 515 there. According to Mack Wood, City Planner of East Ellijay, the lights were originally a test in Jasper as a cost alternative to completely remodeling the intersections.

A welcome change to many citizens as they get stuck in those turning lanes on the way to and from work, the new lights have overcome several hurdles to installation. Requiring the removal of trees along the median near the intersection was just the first hurdle as the city has had to have wire repairs in the lighting system and further work to prepare for the change.

This is the only intersection on 515 in Gilmer that will receive the update after Wood originally contacted GDOT for the updates. Stating a sight distance issue, this means the intersection of Maddox Drive and 515 at the BP and McDonald’s and the intersection in front of Wal-Mart will not be seeing their light change anytime soon.

 

Purchases and Donations at East Ellijay’s Council

News

EAST ELLIJAY, GA – The East Ellijay City Council’s September Meeting saw the purchase of a new Vehicle, Replacing a Copy Machine on Lease, and accepted a lot donation to the city.

The city has been having continued issues with the man copier at the office. Looking into replacements, the council’s options ranged from $5369 to $1800. That lowest price came from Duplicating Products, Inc. out of Gainesville, Georgia. With a 36-month lease, the the copier would come with 3-hour turn around maintenance.

The council was informed that Duplicating Products is already being used by our local schools, the Gilmer Chamber, and local churches. With the extra references, the council unanimously approved the 36-month lease with Duplicating Products at $50 a month. However, the city will be paying the lease annually instead of monthly.

Another purchase came with a retroactive approval of purchasing a 2017 Explorer for the Police Department. Within the last month, the city hit an issue with three vehicles being out of service at one time. According to Mayor Mack West, the city traded in an older 2007 Ford F150 for a $5,000 credit at Jacky Jones Ford in Cleveland, Georgia. Previously approved to spend $27,000 in the budget on a vehicle, the trade in credit brought the original $27,500 down to $21,700 final cost.

Mayor West also stated that the police are installing much of the needed equipment into the vehicle as well, which is driving down additional costs for the vehicle as well. Utilizing old surplus equipment and doing much of the work in house, Mayor West stated that Police Chief Larry Callahan reduced an expected cost of $6,700 down to an estimated $3,200 for equipping the vehicle.

Moving past the purchases, East Ellijay is being offered a lot donation on First Avenue. While discussions began on what the city could possibly do with the property including a commercial building or a park area, no real discussion could begin before officially accepting the property into the city.

The lot officially measures at 0.84 acres and is being donated after it was originally declared not “buildable” due to setbacks and other issues the land presents against a residential building. The city is expecting to perform a quick claim deed in the coming days to finalize the transaction.

Planning and Zoning to have new location

News

The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting February 11th.  The meeting’s end saw the commissioners head into executive session.  They came out of executive session and announced they had entered a contract on a property located at 220 South Gilmer, near the courthouse.  The purchase price is eighty thousand dollars.  

The Board intends to move the Planning and Zoning into the new property.  The current location of the planning and zoning will become a welcome center.  The museum which is currently housed at the Tabor House will be moved into the new welcome center.  The Tabor House has had a great deal of investment however its current condition led to the decision to move the museum.  There is no time frame of when this will occur yet however FYN will update as the plan proceeds. 

 

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