Tag Archives: Forestry

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

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.
https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7170646/Lowndes-County?x=2DCD7BDE9 Continue reading

Public Notice: Rezoning REZ-2022-20, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road for a Dollar General 2023-01-08

Update 2023-01-13: Survey, petition, letters, speak against conmmercial development on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road.

That’s sixteen days before the January 24th Public Hearing about the proposed rezoning for a Dollar General at GA 122 and Skipper Bridge Road by the Lowndes County Commission.

[Public Notice and Future Development Map, REZ-2022-20, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road]
Public Notice and Future Development Map, REZ-2022-20, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road

Which appears to be sufficient notice according to O.C.G.A. 36-66-4(a): “A local government taking action resulting in a zoning decision shall provide for a hearing on the proposed action. At least 15 but not more than 45 days prior to the date of the hearing, the local government shall cause to be published within a newspaper of general circulation within the territorial boundaries of the local government a notice of the hearing. The notice shall state the time, place, and purpose of the hearing.”

The notice says opponents of the rezoning have to file a disclosure report about campaign contributions. The same law, O.C.G.A. 36-67A-3 (2010) says the applicant must also file a disclosure report. I will include a request for that in the LAKE open records request before the January 24th Public Hearing.

Valdosta Daily Times, City and Public Notices, January 8, 2023,

PUBLIC NOTICE TO THE CITIZENS OF LOWNDES COUNTY, Continue reading

Videos: Dollar General rezoning tabled, Troupville Nature Park land purchased @ LCC 2022-12-13

Update 2023-01-10: Public Notice: Rezoning REZ-2022-20, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road for a Dollar General 2023-01-08.

Update 2022-12-22: Videos: Lowndes County buys land from Helen Tapp for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp 2022-12-13.

The Lowndes County Commission tabled the rezoning for a Dollar General on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road until January 24, 2023, because they were a day short on required notice.

A dozen or more people in opposition were visible.

Turns out the county did send the correspondence about that before I asked for it in this meeting, and within the statutory three days for answering a Georgia open records request. All the letters returned were in opposition.

[Collage @ LCC 13 December 2022]
Collage @ LCC 13 December 2022

They made the historic purchase for Troupville Nature Camp and River Park, of Land Between the Rivers at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River. And Chairman Bill Slaughter called seller Helen Tapp up to say a few words.

Apparently they are also modest, since some of them did not seem to like compliments about that purchase.

They reappointed Franklin Bailey to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC).

Everything else passed unanimously.

In Citizens Wishing to be Heard, Kelly Saxon asked for assistance for the homeless, John S. Quarterman complimented the Commission on purchasing the Troupville land, and Blake Robinson said there may not be many young people who come to these meetings, but they do appreciate the local government work the Commissioners are doing.

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 Continue reading

Correspondence: Proposed Rezoning on GA 122 at Skipper Bridge Road 2022-12-12

Update 2022-12-20: Videos: Dollar General rezoning tabled, Troupville Nature Park land purchased @ LCC 2022-12-13.

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.

[Map, Letters, REZ-2022-20, GA 122 & Skipper Bridge Road]
Map, Letters, REZ-2022-20, GA 122 & Skipper Bridge Road

Letters

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

Secrecy of Lowndes County Commission and Staff

Update 2022-02-06: Board’s Pleasure should be Deny: Miller Bridge Road rezoning @ LCC 2022-02-07.

It’s almost enough to make you wonder why the Lowndes County Commission does not want the public to know what it is doing?

A state-funded road restriping with the list of roads not revealed to the public for three months, and no minutes for the relevant meetings on the Lowndes County website (but LAKE kept a copy from their old website).

A petition with 300 signatures the County Planner just took out of the board packet so even County Commissioners did not see it.

Two board packets (for Planning and County Commission meetings) not returned for more than the statutory three days, and then one of them only partial.

No board packets on the county’s website, even though other counties larger and smaller in Georgia and Florida have been doing that for years.

No minutes (except one) before 2014, or maybe some hidden. Not even any agendas before 2012.

[Lowndes County Agenda Center for 2013]
Lowndes County Agenda Center for 2013

County Commission staff do take videos of the Commission meetings, but they only post videos of the Regular Session (not the Work Session), and not even those between October 2020 and October 2021. This is despite spending more than $100,000 for new audio visual equipment for the Commission Chambers, while the Valdosta City Council has livestreamed through the pandemic using an employee’s iPhone.

I could go on about the stealth reapportionment of Commission Districts and the half million dollar bailout of a developer, both at the same January 25, 2022, Lowndes County Commission meeting, both not revealed to the taxpaying public before the voting Regular Session.

But just items related to the Miller Bridge Road rezoning requests are enough to raise questions about the secrecy of Lowndes County Commission and staff.

Why don’t they want the public and the taxpayers to know?

What don’t they want us to know?

Road Striping

Continue reading

Packet: Staff says growth over agriculture and forestry for Miller Bridge R-A Rezoning @ GLPC 2022-01-31

Update 2022-01-31: Dasher packet item: 10 minutes from SGRC vs. too many days from Lowndes County @ GLPC 2022-01-31.

Lowndes County staff says “existing development pattern and growth of the community” is more important than agriculture and forestry for 6. REZ-2022-03 Windy Hill Subdivision, 7532 Miller Bridge Rd., 0010 022, ~34 ac., E-A to R-A on the agenda for the Monday, January 31, 2022, meeting of the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission. Nevermind the surrounding community overwhelmingly opposes this rezoning and it is the Lowndes County Commission (and the Chamber and others) causing this “pattern and growth” heading north into places it should not go and that the county will never be able to collect enough property taxes to support school buses, fire trucks, and Sheriff calls.

Also, they’ve found one R-1 lot nearby and apparently the Rural Residential Character Area on Morven Road counts heavily as “proximity to the Rural Residential Character Area”. And they’ve ignored numerous requirements of the Comprehensive Plan for for the Agriculture/Forestry/Conservation Character Area, as well as what used to be a hard-no county road safety requirement.

In case you had any doubt, this rezoning is not just about this case, it is about the “precedent set by this case for other similarly sized and located properties in Lowndes County.”

[REZ-2022-03: Miller Bridge Road, E-A to -RA]
REZ-2022-03: Miller Bridge Road, E-A to -RA

Here is the main text of the agenda sheet for this rezoning. I have boldfaced certain phrases and interleaved the relevant maps from the board packet.

HISTORY, FACTS AND ISSUES: Continue reading

Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing 2 @ LCC 2021-10-26

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.

[Citizen David Houtz, Elizabeth Backe of SGRC, Houtz receives plan, Sparse audience, City Planner Matt Martin, Commissioners Orenstein and Marshall, Commissioners and VDT reporter]
Citizen David Houtz, Elizabeth Backe of SGRC, Houtz receives plan, Sparse audience, City Planner Matt Martin, Commissioners Orenstein and Marshall, Commissioners and VDT reporter

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.

Commissioners discussed the Comprehensive Plan Update again this morning in their Work Session, and they will approve it tomorrow afternoon at 5:30 PM in their Regular Session. Continue reading