Five citizens spoke, on topics including the “horrible wretched smell” from ADS, the Sabal Trail pipeline, the proposed local charter school, and the board packet and the Alapaha River Water Trail. Chairman Bill Slaughter asserted there had been nineteen applicants for the Planning Commission appointment and seemed to think the public should be happy about that, having learned it presumably by telepathy. He didn’t divulge who those applicants were, and the only one in the board packet (charming young white guy Brad Folsom) was appointed after somebody reminded the Chairman to at least get a motion first. They also appointed Commissioner Joyce Evans to the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. On the GP Investments water rezoning, County Planner Jason Davenport didn’t know whether there had been a dump site there or where the well would go, but they approved it anyway. They also approved the bookkeeping ULDC updates for Special Events, Zoning Map, Fees and they have since put the new zoning map online!
Here’s the agenda with links to the videos and some notes. See also the board packet, obtained for you by LAKE through an open records request, and the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session, which have quite a bit more information, including applicants for appointment speaking.
LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
WORK SESSION, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014, 8:30 a.m.
REGULAR SESSION, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
327 N. Ashley Street – 2nd Floor
- 1. Call to order 2. Invocation 3. Pledge
Video. I’m pretty sure I heard Rev. Commissioner Richard Raines praise open government. Quite a change from his earlier statements.
- 4. Minutes for Approval
- 5.a. Appointments – GLPC
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know about how this position was advertised and what people might think. Chairman Bill Slaughter repeatedly asserted that GLPC had nineteen applicants, so nobody should be concerned. The Chairman seemed completely oblivious to the point that nobody except GLPC and maybe county staff and Commissioners knew anything about there being nineteen applicants. The board packet, which the Commission didn’t even make public until LAKE bought it from them, also has nothing about any other applicant than one. Just because the Chairman knows something doesn’t mean the public does.
So of course they went ahead and appointed that one applicant, Brad Folsom, after a Commissioner had to remind the chairman to at least get a motion first,
You can hear that one applicant speak in the LAKE video of the previous morning’s Work Session. He also didn’t like what apparently somebody told him LAKE wrote. Hm, maybe I should take to calling him a charming young white guy?
- 5.b. Appointments Georgia Department of Behavioral Health
Video. They appointed Commissioner Joyce Evans, without ever divulging which of two board they were talking about. Speaking of talking, even though Commissioner Evans is the one who asked for applicants to boards to speak first, she did not speak either at this meeting or at the previous morning’s Work Session.
- 6.a. Public Hearing – Rezoning Case REZ-2014-15
Video. This is to remove a 2005 requirement for development to use county water and sewer; see the LAKE video of the previous morning’s Work Session for new considerations by the new owner.
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall said he had been told by a resident that there used to be a dump site there. County Planner Jason Davenport said he didn’t know. The applicant said there was no dump site.
Gretchen Quarterman had a concern about the well. Where would it be? Community well? Trust indenture by the county, for the county to take over if the well fails? Paid for by what, SPLOST money, general digest property taxes?
Chairman actually asked County Planner to respond. Davenport didn’t know the location of the well, saying the maps in the board packet didn’t show that, and indeed they don’t. He did expect the county would sign a trust indenture.
They approved the rezoning unanimously. BTW, the board packet agenda item sheet has the long title somebody couldn’t be bothered to put on the public agenda:REZ-2014-15 GP Investments of Valdosta, S Patterson/Inner Perimeter
R 10 with Conditions to R-10, Community Water/Septic ~92 acres
- 6.b. Public Hearing – ULDC Text Amendments, Maps and Fees
Video. The board packet agenda item supplies the long title missing from the public agenda:Text Amendment TXT—20l4-02 Special Events, Zoning Map, Fees
County Planner Jason Davenport said the only update since the previous morning’s Work Session was an updated map, which shows the entire county’s current zoning situation. That map is now linked into the ULDC page on the county’s own website! Thanks to Planning and Zoning for putting it there.
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall had some questions about agricultural zoning. Davenport explained that E-A is Estate Agriculture, which “our most agricultural classification”, shown as “the blank areas” on the map. He further clarified that the map doesn’t change any zoning, it merely reflects the current state of zoning in the county. They approved the map and related changes unanimously.
- 7.a. Georgia Department of Co rrections Contract Renewal
Video. Approved unanimously with no discussion, and without even mentioning the cost of $39,500 for each of three work details (so $118,500 total) that Public Works Director Robin Cumbus had said at the previous morning’s Work Session. Here’s the contract in that board packet that LAKE bought so you can see it.
- 7.b. Hahira’s Extraterritorial Request
Video. Approved unanimously with no discussion. Here’s some detail from the previous morning’s Work Session, the board packet materials, and a question about why the county tax assessors map and VALOR GIS don’t agree on the address of the subject property.
- 8. Reports – County Manager
Video. Speaking as usual far from his microphone, County Manager Joe Pritchard said there would be a brief 9/11 ceremony at the old courthouse 10AM 11 September 2014.
- 9. Citizens Wishing to be Heard Please State Name And Address
- Odors from Evergeen Landfill and ADS –Mary Cursio
Video. She said her house smells like methane and the neighborhood smells like death.It’s just a horrible wretched smell that if you leave in the morning and you come home at the end of the day, your house still smells like that. And I just find that unacceptable for many reasons. Mainly for the health of my children, the health of my family, my property value.
She says “Veolia did not have issues with keeping odors at bay” but for the past year and a half since ADS has been in charge there’s been this problem. She contacted them many months ago; they said give them a month; it’s been far longer, and they won’t even answer her anymore. She asked the Commission to put pressure on ADS to follow the regulations and do something about the smell, which she said is not just in her neighborhood.
- Complaint about free speech –Leigh Touchton
Video. She complained that “my commissioner” (everybody actually has two these days) advocated free speech in regards to an event at VSU (over which the Lowndes County Commission has no control).
- Sabal Trail pipeline –Michael G. Noll
Video. Michael G. Noll expressed concerns about the Sabal Trail methane pipeline, advocating the Commission pass a resolution or ordinance to protect landowners, and noting LNG exports and FL Gov. Rick Scott’s stake in the pipeline that would profit people elsewhere but not in Georgia. He also mentioned the regular protests that had started that same day at Sabal Trail’s office in Valdosta.
- Proposed charter school Scintilla Charter Academy –Julie Hiers
Video. She talked about getting transportation to her proposed Scintilla Charter School, which has been denied by both the Lowndea and Valdosta school boards, and has been told by the state charter school board that it has to sort out transportation and some other issues. That’s the state board approved in a statewide referendum after massive propaganda largely funded by the Walton family.
- Board packet and Alapaha River Water Trail by WWALS –John S. Quarterman
Staff preference is largely based on beliefs that relate to water and sewer services being better for the environment in the long—term. From an environmental standpoint portions of this property contain protected water resources in both wetlands and a drastic groundwater recharge area.
Then I talked about the Alapaha River Water Trail for which WWALS got a tiny grant from Georgia River Network, and the potential for a much larger grant from the Recreational Trails Program that could for example involve fixing up access to the GA 133 boat ramp on the Little River in Lowndes County.
- Executive Session for Attorney-Client Communications
Here’s a video playlist:
Videos: GP Investments, Hahira, Pipeline, Alapaha Water Trail
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 9 September 2014.