De­vel­op­ments of Com­mu­nity Im­pact zon­ing ap­proved

The Covington News - - NEWS - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­

Af­ter Dis­trict 1 Com­mis­sioner John Dou­glas re­quested any lan­guage of burial be re­moved and the acreage in­creased from four to 10 acres, the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sions ap­proved a change to its zon­ing or­di­nance to in­clude a new cat­e­gory — De­vel­op­ments of Com­mu­nity Im­pact.

The new zon­ing or­di­nance was to des­ig­nate de­vel­op­ments of com­mu­nity im­pact as those greater than four acres, but Dou­glas’s late re­quest was to in­crease that size to 10 acres.

The zon­ing change passed by a vote of 3-2. The plan­ning com­mis­sion voted unan­i­mously against the changes prior to Dou­glas’s al­ter­ations.

The pas­sage of the zon­ing or­di­nance to de­fine De­vel­op­ments of Com­mu­nity Im­pact came af­ter months of con­tro­versy. New­ton County De­vel­op­ment staff was asked to look at the county’s or­di­nance dur­ing a five-week mora­to­rium im­posed by the BOC fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of a 162acre pro­posed mosque to be built on High­way 162 and County Line Road in Au­gust.

The BOC con­ducted a pub­lic hear­ing on the pro­posed mosque and called a meet­ing to re­peal the mora­to­rium ear­lier than the stated five weeks.

How­ever, a threat of protests by an armed mili­tia, caused the BOC to can­cel the meet­ing and al­low the mo­rato- rium to end on Sept. 21.

Since then the plan­ning com­mis­sion cre­ated the De­vel­op­ments of Com­mu­nity Im­pact, which is bro­ken down into three cat­e­gories: place of pub­lic as­sem­bly, large-scale de­vel­op­ments and res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments.

For places of pub­lic as­sem­bly and large-scale de­vel­op­ments, if a project en­com­passes 10 acres or more or a struc­ture of more than 10,000 feet it will re­quire ap­proval by de­vel­op­ment ser­vices and the BOC.

For res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments, those of 50 acres or more or 10,000 dwelling units will also re­quire de­vel­op­ment ser­vice and BOC ap­proval.

New­ton County re­quest­ing scenic route sta­tus for High­way 11

An ap­pli­ca­tion will be submitted to the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to ap­ply for scenic by­way sta­tus for ap­prox­i­mately 13 miles of High­way 11.

The scenic by­way would stretch from near So­cial Cir­cle on the north end to beyond Char­lie El­liott Wildlife Cen­ter on the south end. High­way 11 in Jasper County is al­ready marked as a scenic route.

New­ton County Plan­ner Shana Ap­ple­white said the route in New­ton County has some of the same qual­i­ties as it does in Jasper County, lead­ing her to be­lieve the scenic route will be des­ig­nated in New­ton County.

When asked what the cost of the scenic route would be New­ton County Man­ager Lloyd Kerr said the county would be re­spon­si­ble for sig­nage along the route and staff to cre­ate a cor­ri­dor man­age­ment plan.

Con­ve­nience cen­ter con­tract ter­mi­nated

The BOC voted 3-2 to send a let­ter of ter­mi­na­tion to Ju­nior Hil­liard con­cern­ing the con­tract to op­er­ate the New­ton County Trash Col­lec­tion Cen­ters.

The con­tract will ex­pire Feb. 5, leav­ing the cen­ters closed if the Solid Waste Au­thor­ity does not find an al­ter­nate op­tion to keep all or some of the 11 cen­ters open.

SWA given bud­get, ser­vice com­mence­ment date

The New­ton County Solid Waste Au­thor­ity (SWA) was given the county’s solid waste bud­get of $2,292,210 to op­er­ate Tues­day.

The SWA was also granted a ser­vice com­mence­ment date of Nov. 16, 2016.

The SWA will as­sume all au­thor­ity and op­er­a­tion of the solid waste stream start­ing Wed­nes­day.

BOC looks to name road af­ter Mid­dle­ton

Dis­trict 2 Com­mis­sioner Lanier Sims re­quested that a por­tion of Brown Bridge Road —from High­way 212 to Salem Road — be re­named to honor New­ton County’s first County Man­ager, the late John Mid­dle­ton.

The BOC re­quested the re­nam­ing of the road to John Mid­dle­ton Me­mo­rial High­way be added to the agenda for its Dec. 6 meet­ing.

Cre­ation of new po­si­tion tabled

A new po­si­tion, to be a li­ai­son to the film­ing in­dus­try, will not be cre­ated within New­ton County af­ter a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion by the BOC Tues­day night.

The em­ployee in this po­si­tion would deal with film­ing as well as han­dling re­port­ing of im­pact fees, ac­cord­ing to Kerr. The money for the new po­si­tion was to come from pro­ceeds from any spe­cial events or ac­tiv­i­ties at Gaither Plan­ta­tion, which is owned by the county, as well as film rev­enue re­ceived at the county.

How­ever, the cre­ation of the po­si­tion didn’t carry fa­vor with the com­mis­sion­ers, who said it wouldn’t be a fi­nan­cially pru­dent move with the county’s cur­rent bud­get con­straints.

“It seems to me with all the strains we have right now within the county that there are sev­eral de­part­ments that need more em­ploy­ees,” Dis­trict 2 Com­mis­sioner Lanier Sims said. “At this time, I think it’s not wise for us to move for­ward with this po­si­tion. If there is an op­por­tu­nity with the 2018 bud­get, I think that would be a more ap­pro­pri­ate time to take a look at it.”

The BOC tabled the is­sue in­def­i­nitely.

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