Videos: Contentious James Road rezoning @ LCC Work 2023-03-13

This wasn’t even the Public Hearing, which is tomorrow evening. The Lowndes County Commissioners themselves were trying to make sense of the James Road rezoning. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know how many floors the current zoning allows, and whether Smith Road would be improved. Two floors and the county has no plans to modify Smith Road at this time.

[Collage @ LCC 13 March 2023]
Collage @ LCC 13 March 2023

Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted to know when James Road got widened. The County Planner said, “prior to 2008, for sure.” The County Manager said, “about fifteen years ago.” Actually, that widening started on February 16, 2009, which is 14 years ago. The County Manager later did produce the date of 2009; apparently the County Attorney looked that up.

The widening happened because of the proposed-in-2007 but-never-built Market Street mega-mall project. GDOT contributed $587,000 to the widening, plus SPLOST VI funds from the county. Taxpayers were still paying to fix damaged driveways in 2014 and in 2015. As the Chairman said in the meeting this morning about James Road, “it was all developed on an anticipation of a development out there that never happened.” From which he drew the moral that the county should deal with Smith Street “if it becomes an issue.” Ditto a traffic light at James Road and US 84.

Yet the county pushes water mains ever northwards, including on this agenda the Val Del Water Main Extension.

Commissioner Joyce Evans said local residents had complained about traffic backed up near the school. They discussed that that happens at any school in the county.

Commissioner Scottie Orenstein wanted to know why the Planning Commission recommended denial. If the county videoed the Planning Commission meetings, they could watch and see. Now they can watch the LAKE videos of that GLPC session.

Remember this that Chairman Bill Slaughter said, “If he folks out there chooses not to sell property, then it’s not gonna grow.” So that’s the best way to avoid sprawling subdivisions and chain stores: don’t sell.

Regarding James Road, Commissioner Orenstein said development is “long overdue”. Remember that when the Commissioners say they are not developers.

Yes, the screech was on the sound feed the county was supplying to LAKE.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes by Gretchen Quarterman, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and the preceding Planning Commission meeting.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist:

Videos: Contentious James Road rezoning @ LCC Work 2023-03-13
Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, March 13, 2023, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).


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