A million dollar loan wasn’t worth scheduling on the regular agenda for the May 9, 2023, Lowndes County Commission Regular Session?
Two weeks ago the Lowndes County Commission appointed Brenda Mims to the Board of Health, Victoria Copeland and Marion Ramsey to ZBOA, and Jane Peeples to the Library Board, all unanimously.
Everything else (except one item) also passed unanimously, including 8.b. Amend 2015 Solid Waste Ordinance raising waste collection fees and reducing collection center hours, as requested by the haulers.
It became even more obvious why they tabled it a month before: All the Lowndes County Commissioners apparently already knew how they were going to vote on the Howell Road halfway house rezoning before they held the Public Hearing.
The vote was the same as Continue reading
All letters were opposed, of those sent to GLPC or LCC by December 12, 2022, about the rezoning for a Dollar General on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road.
Thanks to Lowndes County Planner JD Dillard for sending this correspondence on REZ-2022-20 last Monday in response to an open records request, before I mentioned it in the Lowndes County Commission meeting Tuesday.
There are letters from Joyce Jones, Jamie Rowntree, and Gwen Rowntree. Gwen Rowntree sent a letter to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) and followed up with a similar letter to the Lowndes County Commission (LCC).
It appears that while there may be people who have spoken to Commissioners in support of the rezoning, as of Monday a week ago nobody had written in support. All the letters are in opposition.
As you can see, Continue reading
Update 2022-12-18: Correspondence: Proposed Rezoning on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road 2022-12-12.
County Manager Paige Dukes said they are legally required to table the rezoning for a Dollar General, because they were a day late on getting notices out, although she twice blamed that on the Valdosta Daily Times.
County Chairman Bill Slaughter said the applicant had requested tabling, and he recommended the second meeting in January (January 24, 2023). Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know why. The Chairman said, “It works out for two of the parties involved, the county and the developer.” (Nevermind the people.) Commissioner Scottie Orenstein said “I’m not in favor of tabling something only to give the developer more time… If he has true intentions on meeting with the community and having a meeting with them, a town hall, something a little more official, then I’m OK with that. But not to just give them more time.” The Chairman disagreed, “Well, I don’t think time is going to resolve anything in this particular situation.” Plus regarding the applicant, “We’re here to give them the courtesy if they make a request through that application process.”
Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker wanted clarified that the main issue was the date issue. Alleged County Attorney G. Walter Elliott reminded them they have to vote to table (the Chairman cannot just unilaterally table).
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall wanted to know if the Planning Commission knew about the timing issue. Continue reading
Two weeks agao the Lowndes County Commission at its Regular Session recognized Fire Chief Lloyd Green for finishing second in his age class in a recent road race.
Then they unanimously approved the previously-rejected O’Neal James Road rezoning, after applicant’s attorney Bill Langdale pointed out the code infractions would have to get fixed regardless of the rezoning decision.
On the previously-decided Campus Howell Road rezoning, they voted twice to invalidate their previous vote. because first they forgot to hold the public hearing. Twice because the Chairman first forgot to hold the Public Hearing. In the Hearing, several citizens spoke against the rezoning. The actual rezoning decision will be taken somewhere between six and nine months later, after the other Public Hearing held just after this Public Hearing.
In the other Public Hearing, they took no vote, since the vote will be sometime between March and May 2023. The rezoning may also go before the Planning Commission again before then. One citizen spoke against, asking why bother going through the Planning Commission again considering that the County Commission rejected the previous GLPC recommendation. County Chairman Bill Slaughter said GLPC will be asked if that is required for due process. Joshua Knight and Brent Moore spoke for.
All the extraterritorial water and sewer extensions passed, but both the Valdosta ones by split votes.
Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker voted against the Griner Park work, saying it is not a top priority and later they might get more than one bid. It passed anyway.
Everything else passed unanimously.
Below are links to each LAKE video of each agenda item, with a few notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. See also Continue reading
Update 2022-09-26: Videos: Redo rezonings and a citizen paving request @ LCC 2022-09-13.
Other than the seven-minute not-on-the-agenda Georgia Forestry presentation by Lowndes County Chief Ranger Mike Williford, the highest-dollar item got the most discussion: Griner Park, at the corner of Webster and Ashley Street.
There was no discussion of the items about redoing their botched rezoning decision.
They did kvetch about each of the extraterritorial jurisdiction items for water and sewer, alleging it was all somebody else’s fault. But why did the county not catch these earlier?
That was at the Work Session yesterday morning. The Lowndes County Commission voted this evening at their Regular Session.
Some Commissioners seemed unclear on why they were spending so much on Griner Park. Here’s Gretchen’s take: Continue reading
As expected, the Lowndes County Commission at its Regular Session passed the half million dollar bailout for a developer.
Not expected, they changed the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to approve new Commission district maps and a resolution supporting them, for immediate transmission to the state.
One citizen wishing to be heard spoke about the never ending noise from the 15 month old Arglass factory.
For 5.k. Property Purchase – Building Valdosta, LLC County Manager Paige Dukes said staff acted at the direction of the Commissioners, seeming to distance herself and staff from this action.
I’m guessing the added agenda item was 5.l..
Vice Chair Joyce Evans, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Chair Bill Slaughter, introduced the agenda change for district reapportionment indicating the Commissioners all already knew this was going to happen. Continue reading
Only one citizen showed up to speak: David Houtz, who asked Commissioners not to change the Character Area Maps, and said he had not seen the latest plan. SGRC’s Elizabeth Backe handed him a copy; she also presented a summary of the process at the beginning of the meeting, and clarified process later.
You can see in this LAKE video a discussion between Valdosta and Hahira City Planner Matt Martin and Lowndes County Commissioner Scottie Orenstein about changes to the Hahira Character Area map is not recorded in the minutes, as well as the rest of the 17-minute meeting.
Update 2021-11-08: Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing 2 @ LCC 2021-10-26.
All of the speakers at the Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting were opposed to moving the Suburban Area line farther north on the Character Area Map. They presented cogent reasons, such as they live up there and aren’t going to sell, there are already 750 lots available for sale while it took a decade for Nelson Hill’s 500 lots to sell, and the county should be looking out for its people and preserving much of the county for the next 50 years.
Most of the Commissioners acted like further development northwest in the county is a force of nature over which they have no control, and expressed more concern for developers and investors than for the room full of people in front of them or the 900 petition signatories opposed.
Here are links to each LAKE video of each speaker with copious notes, followed by a LAKE video playlist. There was no agenda. The lowndescounty.com online calendar had only a title, Comprehensive Plan Stakeholder Meeting, date, time, and place, with no agenda. The draft minutes are sketchy, omitting key points such as the Dorfman report, but you can find that report below. Continue reading
On August 1, 2020, Paige Dukes will be the new County Manager, after the 20-year reign of Joe Pritchard.
Chris Herbert, Valdosta Daily Times, 14 July 2020, Dukes named Lowndes County Manager,
The vote was a split decision, 3-2, with commissioners Joyce Evans, Clay Griner and Scottie Orenstein voting in favor. Demarcus Marshall and Mark Wisenbaker opposed.
Marshall said his no vote was because he wanted to see the position advertised to open the pool up to other candidates.
“I would expect no less than to have this position advertised,” Marshall said. “To advertise it is saying, ‘we’re not just the good ole boys system or good ole girls system.'”
Wisenbaker said he wanted to see a “fresh” perspective from county leadership and hoped a broader search could provide some new outlooks for the county’s future.
“I voted no because I think the citizens of Lowndes County need to be better represented. We need to advertise this job…There’s nothing personal against Ms. Dukes. She’s been here a while. She does a good job. It’s just being able to look out there and see what we may be missing,” he said. “We got a $120 million budget. That’s not small and we need the right people and the right person to carry this on. And we need fresh ideas. We need a fresh person, in my opinion, that can bring new things to the table.”
Those two were in the minority, however, and the three in support said they are certain Dukes is the right decision.
“I’ve been on this board for six years, and Continue reading