Tag Archives: subdivision

No mold or unpaid contractors this time for Moody Housing @ GLPC 2013-07-29

Unlike Moody AFB’s last go at privatizing housing, no mold or unpaid contractors this time, or so we’re told. But not so solid assurances that local contractors will be used. And what if this new thing turns into something radically different like Nelson Hill did only a short way up Val Del? GLPC Voting

Speaking for that proposed privatized Moody housing on Val Del Road, Lawyer Tom Kurrie said this was “an opportunity for our community”. He spelled out that the proposal was “90 homes for off-base houses, for enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers, and officers”, with gates. He went on about Balfour Beatty‘s experience in building such housing, and their option to build Phase II, although at the moment they’re only requesting Phase I. He said “the unfortunate issue that took place with the prior development” would not occur with this one.

I can guess he’s referring to the mold issue, Beth Mahoney detailed in Little Rock Military Families Examiner 6 April 2009.

Or since he lauded Balfour Beatty’s credit rating, maybe he was referring to the nonpayment of subcontractors, as Kari L. Sands wrote for VDT, 4 March 2007, Military housing woes: Non-payment forces work on military housing project to stop.

Preferred Builders and Renovators, LLC., the Home Builders Association of South Georgia and CMS/ Dumpster Co. are among those affected. Subcontractors are alleging that Continue reading

Gated Moody housing on Val Del Road, REZ-2013-09 @ GLPC 2013-07-29

Only 81 of 396 proposed units have been built at current Moody Family Housing on Roberts Road. Why should we build more on Val Del Road?

At the 29 July 2013 Greater Lowndes Planning Commission meeting, County Planner Jason Davenport said that in addition to the initial materials for GLPC, he’d provided an update about Magnolia Grove, which was Phase I of Moody Family Housing. The real reason for the rezoning wasn’t stated in the initial materials given to GLPC. In the materials obtained through open records request, we can see that the GLPC agenda item contained the boilerplate “The general motivation in this case appears to be so that the subject property can be developed at a greater residential density.” In the update it’s assumed that the real reason is housing for Moody personnel, since Magnolia Grove is the existing Moody housing off of Roberts Road. Which isn’t even built out yet, as you can see in this map from the county Tax Commissioners, so why does Moody need more housing?

Lots of interesting back history in that July 29th GLPC Lowndes County Rezoning Update – 2, to which I’ve added Continue reading

TRC and GLPC recommended subdivision that doesn’t improve traffic or safety, REZ-2013-09

What is so important about yet another subdivision of 360,910 square feet in 173 houses when we have a glut of houses that the TRC unanimously recommended it despite significant defects and omissions? According to Technical Review Committee (TRC) analysis, REZ-2013-09 Moody Family will not lessen congestion in the streets or secure safety from fire, panic, and other dangers. TRC also said the application didn’t meet ULDC standards and in somewhat tortured language: “although not a proposed condition, it should be noted on this request that a future traffic study will be required.” Why not require these things before even sending the application to the Planning Commission?

In email to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commissioners of 23 July 2013, forwarded to the applicants 29 July 2013, July 29th GLPC Lowndes County Rezoning Materials,

2) REZ-2013-09 Moody Family, 0072 191, Val Del Rd, 64.92 ac., 2 lots, R-1 to Residential PD, County Utilities

a) The TRC recommended approval of the request unanimously.

b) Additionally, although not a proposed condition, it should be noted on this request that a future traffic study will be required. Acceleration lanes/Deceleration lanes and/or a dedicated left turn lane may be required.

Rumor has it that this development is being pushed not by Moody AFB, rather by Continue reading

Who’s inaccurate: VDT, Valdosta, GEFA, Chamber, County?

Both Chamber of Commerce Chair Myrna Ballard and Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard say the VDT is inaccurate. The VDT took offense at Ballard’s assertion. Which do you believe? I believe I’d like to see the evidence, not just the VDT’s assertions. And this junior high school cat fight the VDT insists on is not helping fix the real problem with water and wastewater in Valdosta and Lowndes County: the widespread and longterm damage to our watersheds that turned a normal rain in 2009 into a 700 year flood, and caused another flooding of the Withlacoochee Wasterwater Treatment Plant this year. I’m all for investigative reporting, but I have not yet once seen the VDT investigate the real underlying issues of longtime clearcutting and building of roads subdivisions, and parking lots without adequate consideration of water flows.

The VDT front page today has yet another story attacking the City of Valdosta, Loan info from GEFA contradicts City: $11 million awaits disbursement, loan amounts don’t match. I can’t make much sense out of it, because while Jason Shaefer has dug up a lot of interesting information, he doesn’t include dates for much of the financial detail he attributes to GEFA. Let’s see the VDT publish the documents they are referring to. The city does publish its Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports. The VDT has a website, and could publish whatever records it got from GEFA, which after all were produced using our tax dollars, and are therefore public records. Or if the documents are somewhere on GEFA’s website, the VDT could publish links to the specific documents. The VDT did publish a timeline of correspondence with the City about loans, so it could just as easily publish the GEFA documents and its own page-by-page and chart-by-chart comparison so we could all see for ourselves.

The VDT prepended this blurb to its timeline:

It has come to the attention of the Times that the Chamber of Commerce has called a special meeting on Tuesday to address what COC Pres. Myrna Ballard terms as “damage to our community’s reputation” due to the stories that have appeared in the newspaper. The invitation for the 9 a.m. meeting at the Chamber office was extended to only a select group of Chamber members, no media, and states that Mayor John Gayle and City Manager Larry Hanson will explain the city’s financial status. The Times takes very seriously the implication that the newspaper has written anything that is “inaccurate,” as stated by the Chamber. As such, the Times has chosen to show the public the information provided to the newspaper in response to questions posed to the City, with no editing, to allow citizens the opportunity to see for themselves if what the Times has written is an “inaccurate” portrayal of the city’s financial status.

What was that again?

The Times takes very seriously the implication that the newspaper has written anything that is “inaccurate,” as stated by the Chamber.

How about as stated by Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard? In a letter from him to me of 29 January 2013 Pritchard stated:

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I don’t want to say we don’t have broadband —Andrea Schruijer @ VLCIA 2013-02-19

Unfortunately, Andrea Schruijer made clear that much of what had just been said at the the Industrial Authority 19 February 2013 hadn’t been heard.

It’s not that we’re saying we don’t have broadband. We have connectivity; that’s not the issue. We have great partners that help us with that.

Well, local “leaders” need to learn to say it: “we don’t have broadband!” Many of the people of Lowndes County and even more in the surrounding counties can’t afford Internet access at all, as Idelle Dear told the Lowndes County Commission. And the “great partners” Ms. Schruijer bragged about will never provide it for us without a lot of prodding, because AT&T and Verizon and Sprint and Comcast and Mediacom don’t think anything outside the Atlanta beltway has enough population density to bother with, and even in Atlanta all people get is U.S.-style low-speed low-reliability Internet connectivity that would never even be on sale in Japan or France or Korea or Finland or even Estonia.

Tom Call illustrated my point when he talked about a residential project where a provider installed cable and claimed they were providing voice, TV, and Internet access, but then didn’t actually have the capacity for Internet when people started using it.

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Better cities and counties make better watersheds

Want jobs, low taxes, and less flooding? Help maintain our watersheds with good local planning.

What’s a watershed? Kaid Benfield wrote for Atlantic Cities today, The Cost of Sprawl on Clean Water:

Watersheds are topographic areas where all the rain that falls eventually ends up in a namesake steam, river, lake, or estuary.

These are our local watersheds. Purple is the Little River Watershed, blue is the Withlacoochee Watershed, and Valdosta is where the Little River flows south into the Withlacoochee. Green is the Alapaha watershed, and Tifton is where all three meet. Every drop of rain or used well water or wastewater overflow or pesticide runoff or soapy shower water or clearcut mud that runs downhill into one of these rivers is in their (and our) watersheds.

Becoming greener doesn’t just mean a municipality’s adding a pleasant new park here and there, or planting more trees, although both components may be useful parts of a larger effort. How a town is designed and developed is related to how well it functions, how well it functions is related to how sustainable it really is, and how sustainable it is, is directly related to how it affects its local waters and those who use those same waters downstream.

Compact, mixed-use, well-designed in-town growth can take some of the pressure off of its opposite on the outskirts — or beyond the outskirts — of towns and cities. We know that sprawling growth is generally pretty bad for maintaining environmental quality in a region (air pollution from cars that become necessary in such circumstances, displacement of open land, water pollution from new roads and shopping centers that are begot by such growth patterns).

We also know, as UGA Prof. Dorfman told us several years ago,

Local governments must ensure balanced growth, as
sprawling residential growth is a certain ticket to fiscal ruin*
* Or at least big tax increases.

Kaid Benfield explains how town planning is related to watersheds:

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Condos and Agricultural Zoning: latest redraft of ULDC update

Jason Davenport, County Planner, has produced another redraft of the proposed changes to the Lowndes County, Georgia Unified Land Devleopment Code (ULDC). Here is his cover letter and here is the PDF of the proposed changes. Here’s the first table again:

During yesterday’s 3PM work session, Commissioner Lee asked the County Planner Continue reading

ULDC Update Redraft for Monday’s Planning Commission

The Technical Review Committee (TRC) has reviewed the ULDC update and has produced a final draft for the Planning Commission, which meets Monday 25 October 2010 at 5:30 PM, still at the old county commission chambers at 325 W. Savannah Avenue.

More here about condominiums.

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What is a Condominium?

Regarding condominiums and zoning in the Lowndes County ULDC, Georgia condominium law basically says that zoning can’t deny condos if some other form of ownership is permitted. If there’s a five acre minimum, only one condo unit could fit in that five acres, but with community membership with the other condos on the associated property.. For example, on an 18 acre piece of property, the maximum number of units would be 3 or 4.

Of course, a condominium doesn’t have to be a dwelling unit. As Gary Stock points out The key feature is joint ownership:

“A condominium is not a building. It is a form of ownership.”
it could be a horse farm, a hunting camp, a fishing club, or other. There usually needs to be a general common area, then some limited common areas with building envelopes for condo unit owners to use to build buildings (or maybe buildings are already there). The catch is that because a condominium is all one piece of property jointly owned, drawing limited common areas and building envelopes doesn’t require zoning approval.

Appended is one of the more relevant sections of the Georgia code.

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§ 44-3-114. Effect of article upon land use, zoning, building, and subdivision laws; effect of Code Section 44-3-92; applicability of land use and zoning ordinances or laws to expandable condominium
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Foxborough Anti-McDonalds Banner

The VDT writes about Foxborough two days in a row:
Several dozen residents of the Foxborough subdivision came to the Lowndes County Commission meeting Tuesday to again express their dismay at the possibility of having a McDonald’s fast food restaurant located by the neighborhood’s entrance.

Resident Pete Candelaria said he has been living in Foxborough for six years and was speaking on behalf of the residents.

Candelario (I believe that’s the actual spelling of his name) provided a list of suggestions to the Commission, which Chairman Paulk addressed, including: Continue reading