Category Archives: Transportation

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 Continue reading

James Road rezoning, Kinderlou well emergency repair, Francis Lake sewer rehab, Val Del water main extension to McMillan Road @ LCC 2023-03-13

It will be a busy Work Session this morning at the Lowndes County Commission, with a rezoning, an emergency well repair, a sewer main rehab, and yet another water main extension northwards along Val Del Road, pushing sprawl with it.

As usual, they pretend the rezoning will cost the county nothing, yet the vast majority of the more than a million dollars for the water items is for the water main extension, which will result in more rezonings and more subdivisions. This has been the county’s practice on Val Del Road since they pushed water and sewer north for Nelson Hill subdivision. As goes Val Del, so goes the county, if the County Commission continues to have its way.

Cost What
$980,051.00Val-Del Water Main Extension
$225,910.3.00Francis Lake Sewer Rehab
$26,585.5.00Kinderlou Offsite Well Emergency Repair

I do not have the board packet, because I forgot to send in a GORA request. Why the county does not put its board packets on its own website is mysterious. Under Agenda Center for each County Commission agenda there is even a pulldown slot for “Packet”. That currently has only the agenda and the one-page agenda sheets. There is no reason it could not instead have the PDF of the entire board packet.

[Agenda, James Road rezoning]
Agenda, James Road rezoning

However, the county got around to sending the GLPC materials for the rezoning the day after the GLPC meeting, well after the statutory three day limit for the Georgia Open Records Act (GORA). So those rezoning materials are on the LAKE website.

Here is the agenda. Continue reading

Halfway house rezoning has Public Hearing date 2023-03-28

The halfway house rezoning on Howell Road is back for its final Public Hearing, on March 28, 2023.

[Second Public Re-Hearing, Zoning Location Map]
Second Public Re-Hearing, Zoning Location Map

Back in May 23, 2022, the Greater Lowndes Planning recommended denial by 7:2. Nonetheless, the Lowndes County Commission approved this rezoning on 2022-06-16 with the Chairman breaking a tie.

After an attorney for opponents dug in, that vote was determined invalid, because the county had not advertised the Public Hearing according to state law specific to Transitional Care Facilities. The first of two new Public Hearings was held 2022-09-13.

See also the Lowndes County Commission board packet 2022-06-16, the board packet 2022-09-12, and the GLPC board packet 2022-05-23.

In the Valdosta Daily Times, March 5, 2023:


[Public Notice of Second Public Re-Hearing]

Lowndes County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing to consider the following rezoning request. The location, date and time of the public hearing are as follows:

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 – 5:30 p.m.

Lowndes County Board of Commissioners (official public hearing) Lowndes County Judicial and Administrative Complex Commission Chambers, 2nd Floor 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, Georgia

The Board of Commissioners of Lowndes County will hold a public hearing pursuant to OCGA § 36-66-4(A) at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in the Lowndes County Judicial and Administrative Complex, Commission Chambers, 2nd Floor, 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, Georgia, in Case Number REZ-2022-10 regarding all or part of Tax Map 0186 Parcel 107 and Tax Map 0187 Parcel 082 on the application by Redeemed Living, c/o Charles B. Moore, Jr., on behalf of Parkerson Properties, LLC/Thomas A. Parkerson, to amend the Zoning Map of Lowndes County, Georgia, to rezone 23 acres located at 2193 Howell Road, Valdosta, Georgia, from E-A (Estate Agriculture) zoning district to PD (Planned Development) zoning district for uses to include a Transitional Care Facility. The Lowndes County Unified Land Development Code defines Transitional Care Facility to mean “A building or buildings in which is provided long-term but not permanent living accommodations for one or more persons who are in need of short term or long-term housing assistance, and in which may also be provided meals and social services including physical therapy, social therapy, emotional therapy, counseling, rehabilitation, or substance abuse recovery assistance.” The legal dictionary definition of halfway house is “A transitional housing facility designed to rehabilitate people who have recently left a prison or medical-care facility, or who otherwise need help in adjusting to unsupervised living.” The proposed zoning decision relates to or will allow the location or relocation of a halfway house, drug rehabilitation center, or other facility for the treatment of drug dependency.

Any comments may be presented at the public hearings, or filed in writing prior to the public hearings. Also, review of the above applications is available in the Office of the County Planner located at 327 North Ashley Street.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 36-67A-3, any opponent of this proposed rezoning who has made campaign contributions aggregating $250.00 or more to a local government official of Lowndes County Board of Commissioners, within two years immediately preceding the filing of the application, is required to file a disclosure statement, at least five days prior to the hearing, with the Zoning Administrator or County Planner, stating the name and position of the local official to whom contributions were made, the amount, description and date of each campaign contribution.



Investigative reporting costs money, for open records requests, copying, web hosting, gasoline, and cameras, and with sufficient funds we can pay students to do further research. You can donate to LAKE today!

Rezonings: 2 Hahira, 1 Valdosta, 1 Lowndes County @ GLPC 2023-01-30

Update 2023-01-30: Packet: Lowndes County rezoning @ GLPC 2022-01-30

The two Hahira items are for the same property, and there is one each for Valdosta and Lowndes County, to be considered Monday evening at the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC). The appointed GLPC recommends, with final decisions made at the corresponding City or County elected bodies.

[Cases @ GLPC 2023-01-30]
Cases @ GLPC 2023-01-30

The Bojangles 8-pump gas station and convenience store in Hahira could be contentious. Its applicant wants both a Special Exception and a Variance. Continue reading

Videos: Dollar General Defeated, VLDA appointment, subdivision infrastructure, VOCA, server blades @ LCC Regular 2023-01-24

Update 2023-01-29: Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26.

Much to the surprise of the several dozen opponents of the Dollar General rezoning, and even after the DG developer attorney attempted to tell his version of the Lowndes County Commission’s legal responsibilities, all the Commissioners voted to deny the rezoning.

[Collage @ LCC 24 January 2023]
Collage @ LCC 24 January 2023

The audience laughed at the Dollar General’s offer of an “enhanced facade,” as conveyed by County Planner JD Dillard. Even after Chairman Bill Slaughter limited each side to ten minutes, the opposition gave excellent summaries.

Heath Dawson, who is the nearest neighbor to the north and a commercial banker, attested Continue reading

Videos: new attorney, VLDA appointment, Dollar General rezoning, 2 infrastructure, special assessment rate, VOCA @ LCC Work 2023-01-23

Update 2023-01-28: Videos: Dollar General Defeated, VLDA appointment, subdivision infrastructure, VOCA, server blades @ LCC Regular 2023-01-24.

The second-longest item at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session this morning was the proposed rezoning for a Dollar General at GA 122 and Skipper Bridge Road, slightly uphill from the Withlacoochee River. They vote tonight at 5:30 PM. You can still call your Commissioner or send email, or speak in the Public Hearing this evening.

The two subdivision infrastructure acceptances on or near Val Del Road remind us all of what happens when the county pushes development onto a road, as they did back in 2007 by running water and sewer to Nelson Hill on Val Del Road.

The longest item at almost three minutes was 7.c. Special Assessment Rate for 2023, which has to be set every year, even though it hasn’t been used in decades.

[Collage @ LCC 23 January 2023]
Collage @ LCC 23 January 2023

About the rezoning, County Planner JD Dillard said another letter opposing the rezoning had been received, from someone about three quarters of a mile north on Skipper Bridge, but he did not say who it was nor what they wrote.

For no apparent reason, he put up a map showing nearest distances to residences. Continue reading

Videos: seventeen minutes for three appointments and other business @ LCC Regular 2023-01-09

All the votes took less than eight minutes, at the Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, Monday, January 9, 2023.

Only one Commissioner had one question about a voting item, 6.e. Stop Loss Insurance Coverage through HM Insurance Group. Maybe they all knew how they were going to vote before they got to this public meeting.

There was discussion about inspections being efficient for “the development community” in the non-voting 7. Reports – County Manager.

They appointed people to three boards, accepted infrastructure for a subdivision, agreed to a lease, accepting a grant, and an insurance plan.

None of the appointees were present.

See especially Gretchen’s comments on 6.b. Extension of Agreement for ULDC Updates.

[Collage @ LCC 9 January 2023]
Collage @ LCC 9 January 2023

The whole thing took seventeen minutes. For sure, the County Manager’s Reports are informative, but subtract those eight minutes and the more than a minute for the preliminaries, and only eight are left.

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 LAKE videos of the preceding Work Session and the agenda and board packet. Continue reading

Videos: Three appointments, lease, ULDC, roads, grant, insurance @ LCC Work 2023-01-09

Update 2023-01-22: Videos: seventeen minutes for three appointments and other business @ LCC Regular 2023-01-09.

No item took even two minutes, although many departments spoke, at the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session, Monday, January 9, 2023. The whole thing took eight minutes.

[Collage @ LCC Work 9 January 2023]
Collage @ LCC Work 9 January 2023

I wonder what’s in these ULDC Updates, when will the public get to see them, and why was a contractor necessary to write them? Also, how much did that contract cost?

The Regular Session was later that same day; LAKE videos of that one will also follow.

Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item of the Work Session, with some notes by Gretchen Quarterman, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also the agenda and board packet. Continue reading

Packet: Dollar General rezoning again, VLDA appointment, 2 subdivision infrastructure, special assessment rate, DA VOCA, server blades @ LCC 2023-01-23

Update 2023-01-24: Videos: new attorney, VLDA appointment, Dollar General rezoning, 2 infrastructure, special assessment rate, VOCA @ LCC Work 2023-01-23.

Update 2023-01-23: Please deny Dollar General rezoning, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road –WWALS to Lowndes County 2023-01-23.

The rezoning for a Dollar General is back on the agenda for the Lowndes County Commission to review Monday morning and to decide Tuesday evening.

[Agenda, Dollar General rezoning]
Agenda, Dollar General rezoning

They will also decide on reappointing Brad Folsom to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority. interest rate for paving and utility assessments, authorization for D.A. to accept federal VOCA grant funds. and the only thing listed as costing money: server blades replacing those at end of life.

Reminding us what happens when the development camel gets its head under the agriculture and forestry tent, there are two acceptances of subdivision infrastructure over on and near Val Del Road, some of the numerous developments since the county ran water and sewer to Nelson Hill on Val Del.

Meanwhile, Dollar General does not seem to know where its stores are, and the lot layout it submitted is not binding, yet we should trust them to handle wetlands appropriately, just uphill of Poley Creek and the Withlacoochee River? Continue reading

Survey, petition, letters, speak against conmmercial development on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road

Update 2023-01-21: Packet: Dollar General rezoning again, VLDA appointment, 2 subdivision infrastructure, special assessment rate, DA VOCA, server blades @ LCC 2023-01-23.

If you do not think “commercial and shopping options in Lowndes County” should include a development foothold in an agricultural and forestry area, here are ways you can oppose it: a survey, a petition, letters, call your Commissioner, and speak in the Public Hearing.

[Trash bags across GA 122 from the rezoning notice sign]
Trash bags across GA 122 from the rezoning notice sign

Somebody identified only as “Joe w/ WG Research” is sending text messages with a survey that includes this question:

4. Would you be in favor of a new and architecturally enhanced Dollar General in North Lowndes County located on GA Hwy 122?

No doubt they want to hear from everybody. So please answer the survey and get friends and relatives who oppose that rezoning to answer it. Continue reading