Tag Archives: trees

Dollar General or not? @ LCC 2012-12-10

Is Naylor maybe going to get a Dollar General or something else, if the unnamed applicant or applicants get their rezoning with or without conditions? None of that is clear from yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session for agenda item 7.c. REZ-2012-19 Naylor Dollar General, US Hwy 84 East, E-A to C-G, Well & Septic, ~2 acres.

County Planner Jason Davenport said:

The applicants have mentioned trying to do a Dollar General at this site. We believe that’s what they’re going to do, but however whatever uses are allowed in C-G would of course be allowed if it is approved without any conditions.

He said they had the recommendations from the TRC and the Planning Commission, but he didn’t say what they were. The Planning Commission recommended for, apparently with the understanding that it was for a Dollar General. Davenport said there had been no further input since the Planning Commission meeting.

The Commission could have staff submit written reports that go in the agenda and minutes, like the Library Board does, and then put those online as PDF or HTML linked to an HTML agenda, like Glynn County and Richmond County do, and we wouldn’t have to guess the names of applicants or the details of rezoning requests.

Here’s the video:

Dollar General or not?
Work Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 10 December 2012.

-jsq

Lowndes County’s 2007 and 2012 favors for the same developer

According to the Lowndes County Commission’s minutes, the developer for whom the Commission now proposes to change the zoning code back in 2007 got $130,000 in road construction labor from the Commission.

In the 26 June 2007 Lowndes County Commission Regular Session Minutes:

County Engineer, Mike Fletcher, presented an item that was brought to the Commission during the previous work session regarding the paving of Davidson Road. Further, Mr. Clint Joyner was in the process of building a previously approved development that was being affected by an unforeseen Department of Transportation requirement regarding a costly intersection improvement. Mr. Fletcher further stated that Mr. Joyner was required to pave a portion of Davidson Road; however, due to the intersection cost he was offering to purchase the materials for the funding of the entire road, if the county would provide the road construction labor at a cost of approximately $130,000.00. Commissioner Lee made a motion to approve the request, Vice Chairman Carter and Commissioner Roberts offered a second. Motion carried.

Somebody help me here, is not that the same Clint Joyner back in 2007 getting a $130,000 subsidy from the County Commission who last month got invited to talk to the Commission in a Work Session with nobody else invited to speak? The same one for whom the same Commission is now proposing to change the zoning code? For another development on the same Davidson Road? A development the Chamber and Moody and the Planning Commission are all opposing, while the VDT channels Ashley Paulk in promoting it?

What is it about this Clint Joyner or Joyner Realty or Davidson Road that the County Commission should favor him or them so? It can’t be the individual Commissioners: not a one of them is the same now from 2007. What is the same then and now?

Maybe we should find out before the Commission grants any more favors.

-jsq

Chamber opposes zoning code change for developer near Moody

Apparently it’s the Chamber and Moody and the Planning Commission Red arrows on MAZ and the TRC all against Ashley Paulk on the Moody rezoning-and-zoning-code case, with the VDT sidling towards Paulk. The VDT claimed Lowndes County Chairman stated something that’s not true according to the agenda and LAKE’s videos of the recent Planning Commission meeting. And the VDT buried opposition by the Chamber of Commerce’s relevant committee at the end of its article.

Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT today, County disagrees with proposed zoning amendment, Paulk: Military intervention could prevent development near base, and the caption of the picture on the right says:

The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission proposed a text amendment to the Unified Land Development Code in November that would reduce lot density restrictions from 2.5 acres to one acre, allowing landowners within the Moody Activity Zoning (MAZ) district “more flexibility” to parcel off their land holdings, Paulk said.

The Planning Commission’s own agenda says TEX-2012-02 was proposed by “Lowndes County Board of Commissioners”. And the Planning Commission voted to recommend against approving that text amendment to the ULDC. According to Planning Commissioner John Page, that vote was following the recommendation of the Technical Review Committee (TRC), which consists of staff of Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta. Page is also an incoming Lowndes County Commissioner, to take office next month. So either Paulk said something he as the Chairman of the Lowndes County Commission should know not to be true, or the VDT wrote erroneously.

The VDT also seemed to indicate that Paulk was speaking for Continue reading

Developer didn’t get his way: change the zoning code! @ GLPC 2012-11-26

A developer didn’t get his way at the Lowndes County Commission last month, so now the county is proposing to change the zoning code for him! To change zoning right next to Moody Air Force Base, the largest employer in this area. A change opposed by Moody because of flight safety and safety of property, and “the longterm viability of Moody Air Force Base.” A change that would set a precedent for further sprawl, as Moody indicated indirectly when the related rezoning first came before the Planning Commission. Apparently a developer can get whatever he wants around here, no matter how much it threatens the livelihoods or well-being of the rest of the citizens. Does that seem right to you? To their credit, the Planning Commission at its 26 November 2012 meeting unanimously voted against this TEX-2012-02 just as they did the rezoning case REZ-2012-17 last month. Both will be decided by the Lowndes County Commission at its 11 December 2012 meeting.

4. TEX-2012-02

Lowndes County Board of Commissioners
A proposed text amendment to the Unified Land Development Code as it pertains to Single Family residential Density and Minimum Lot Area within the MAZ (Moody Activity Zone)

County Planner Jason Davenport introduced this item.

TEX-2012-02 ULDC changes Ultimately at the end of the day this text amendment is a request to change the minimum lot sizes allowed and the minimum residential densities allowed in a MAZ-3 zoning district. We have those changes highlighted on the screen but they have also been highlighted in the packet…. At the end of the day that is what has happened.

Well, yes, at the end of that day. At the end of many future days this zoning code amendment if approved will be used as a precedent for more sprawl right next to Moody Air Force Base, which is by far the biggest employer in this area. The packet he referred to is not available to the public. The changes he mentioned are not on his Unified Land Development Code (ULDC) web page. A view of them as seen from the back of the room is shown on the right here. Can you read them?

Moody insert in ULDC Map The ULDC map linked on that page includes the Moody Area insert map shown here on the right.

Davenport added that he had received one open records request and a response from Moody. Plus state law requires 30 days for Moody to respond and it had been 31 days. Then he walked through some history using pages in Commissioners’ packets that we the taxpayers, voters, and residents of Lowndes County can’t see.

Davenport specifically tied this text amendment to a tabled zoning case:

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Planning Commission recommends nineteenth Dollar General @ GLPC 2012-11-26

The Planning Commission 26 November 2012 ignored a Naylor citizen’s questions about a market survey, traffic, trees, peace and quiet, rural living, and sprawl and unanimously recommended a rezoning request for the eighteenth Dollar General in the area. They did this for a developer who doesn’t live in Lowndes County, and who didn’t even have her name revealed by the Planning Commission, even though anyone who spoke against had to show up in person and state name and address. All this for a location that wasn’t specified in the agenda. Does this seem right to you?

Dr. Bobbie Robinson 3. REZ-2012-19 Robinson Milltown Properties, LLC

US Highway 84 East, Naylor, Georgia
Request to rezone 2 acres from E-A (Estate Agriculture) to C-G (General Commercial)

It’s for a Dollar General. County Planner Jason Davenport said nobody had called in. The agenda doesn’t say which parcel is the subject, and the County Planner didn’t specify. Robinson Miltown Properties map Judging by the map displayed on the screen, it’s the southeast corner of parcel number 0250 003, 101.91 acres owned by Robinson Milltown Properties LLC of 2605 Hall Ave., Tifton, GA 31794. Dr. Bobbie Robinson of ABAC According to the Georgia Secretary of State, that LLC’s agent is Bobbie Ann Robinson of 2605 Hall Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794. I’m told she is the Dr. Bobbie Robinson Professor of English and Dean, School of Liberal Arts at ABAC in Tifton. It’s curious how anybody speaking in opposition had to show up in person and state their name and address, but she the developer didn’t have to do any of those things.

Clayton Milligan of Lovell Engineering Clayton Milligan of Lovell Engineering spoke for, merely saying he offered to answer questions. Commissioners asked him no questions.

Matthew Richard of 5569 Upper Grand Bay Road spoke against.

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University at Buffalo installs solar array at entrance

Meanwhile, about a thousand miles north of us, a 750 kilowatt solar array opens in Buffalo, New York.

According to PR of yesterday from the University at Buffalo, UB’s 3,200-Panel ‘Solar Strand’ to be Dedicated at Opening Ceremony: Will provide enough electricity to power hundreds of student apartments on campus,

In celebration of Earth Day and to promote clean, renewable energy development, the University at Buffalo and New York Power Authority (NYPA) will dedicate the UB Solar Strand, the 3,200-panel photovoltaic array, at an opening ceremony on Monday, April 23.

Those panels seem inclined quite a bit more than ones around here. That’s because UB is at 43 degrees north latitude, way north of our 31 degrees. And there’s a lot less sun up there, too. Yet they just installed a solar array more than twice as big as the 350 KW array in Valdosta.

UB is a university, and it uses the project for more than a single practical purpose:

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VLCIA and local counties

In which of these five, seven, eleven, or thirteen counties is Athens, Georgia?

According to Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA), Regional Hub,

Valdosta is a regional hub for eleven Georgia counties and two Florida counties. Valdosta-Lowndes County acts not only as the regional hub for retail, medical, transportation and entertainment. Our community is also the regional hub for employment for five contiguous, predominantly rural Georgia counties and two Florida counties (as indicated in the chart to the right) and supports a thirteen county region referenced from the 2000 Census (see chart attached below).
The five Georgia counties are (alphabetically) Brooks, Cook, Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes, and the two Florida counties are Hamilton and Madison. In which of those seven counties is Athens, Georgia?

The thirteen counties, barely legible on VLCIA’s webpage, are: Berrien GA, Brooks GA, Clinch GA, Colquitt GA, Columbia FL, Cook GA, Dougherty GA, Duval FL, Echols GA, Fulton GA, Hamilton FL, Lanier GA, and Madison FL. Fulton County, Georgia? OK, that’s odd. Hm, the table is entitled

“Journeys To and From LOWNDES GA (Threshold = 50)”.
It’s about vehicles travelling in and out of Lowndes County. So Fulton makes some sense, due to people travelling between here and Atlanta. Local region, though? Not Fulton. Ditto Duval County, Florida. Jacksonville, local? I think not.

So maybe call it an eleven county region. In which of those eleven or thirteen counties is Athens, Georgia?

-jsq

Why doesn’t VLCIA buy locally?

Col. Ricketts reminded VLCIA board members at their most recent regular meeting (2012 01 17) that he had asked them for input about trees for Miller and Westside Business Parks.
We have identified trees from a nursery, Select Trees, in Athens, Georgia, with a special five year warranty on those trees, that meet our landscape plans for both Miller and Westside Business Park. As we discussed in our last board meeting, there is some cost savings available to us, and the ability for us to select trees now and hold them if we make a deposit.
OK, I commend VLCIA staff and board for trying to save we the taxpayers money.

But isn’t VLCIA supposed to be promoting local business and agriculture? Why is our Industrial Authority outsourcing to a company halfway across the state? Why doesn’t it buy locally, even if it costs a little more?

For that matter, aren’t there plenty of local trees, like sycamores, magnolias, and even longleaf pines that would cost very little to transplant to a local business park? Maybe those are the types of trees they’re buying. We don’t know, because only the board got the list of trees.

For that matter, why didn’t VLCIA put out a public request for bids for the trees?

Here’s the video:


Why doesn’t VLCIA buy locally?
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Tom Call, Roy Copeland chairman, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett,
Andrea Schruijer Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Project Manager,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 17 January 2012.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

-jsq

Biomass: “a sub-prime carbon mortgage”

BirdLife International writes about Bioenergy – a carbon accounting time bomb:
The first study, carried out by Joanneum Research, identifies a major flaw in the way carbon savings from forest-derived biomass are calculated in EU law as well as under UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol mechanisms. It concludes that harvesting trees for energy creates a ‘carbon debt’: the carbon contained in the trees is emitted upfront while trees grow back over many years. The true climate impact of so-called woody biomass in the short to medium term can, as a result, be worse than the fossil fuels it is designed to replace.

“The EU is taking out a sub-prime carbon mortgage that it may never be able to pay back. Biomass policy needs to be fixed before this regulatory failure leads to an ecological crisis that no bail out will ever fix”, commented Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife International.

Hm, this seems to contradict VLCIA’s assertion that the document they gave me proves their proposed wood incinerator would be carbon neutral. That document openly admits that biomass produces more CO2 than coal, and calls for national or regional studies, which didn’t exist. Nonetheless, when I pointed that out (again) to VLCIA Executive Director Brad Lofton, he asserted that “Carbon is absolutely not an issue with our plant.” Hm, well, now there is a study, and it shows that burning woody biomass is not carbon neutral.

And this excess production of CO2 isn’t limited to burning whole trees. Looking at the actual study:

When residues are left on the forest floor, they gradually decompose. A great deal of the carbon contained in their biomass is released over time into the atmosphere and a small fraction of the carbon is transformed into humus and soil carbon. When the residues are burnt as bioenergy, the carbon that would have been oxidized over a longer time and carbon that would have been stored in the soil is released immediately to the atmosphere. This produces a short term decrease of the dead wood and litter pools that is later translated into a decrease of soil carbon.
So it doesn’t really matter that VLCIA asserts that their proposed plant will never burn whole trees. The tops and limbs they want to burn produce the same problem.

The study also includes comparisons with CO2 saved by biomass offsetting coal burning. The catch for the proposed biomass incinerator in Lowndes County is that it’s not offsetting anything: it’s in addition to the coal burned at Plant Scherer. We could offset some coal through efficiency and conservation, plus solar power. None of those things produce any emissions.

jsq VDT LTE pro Solar GA

The VDT printed my LTE today. It doesn’t seem to be online yet. Appended is what I submitted, annotated with some links and pictures. The last picture shows the solar panels on my farm workshop.

-jsq


Re: Forester R. Wayne Bell’s points of May 20, 2010. (Hi Wayne; I’ll get those dibbles back to you soon.)

Where does Georgia Power say Albany’s biomass plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 95 percent? Biomass proponents usually say what Forester Bell says: trees are carbon neutral. That ignores the time gap between clearcutting and new growth. That gap from 15 to 100 years or more can produce a lot of CO2.

As a tree farmer myself, I know the pulpwood market is down in Georgia due to the recession and foreign competition. I’d like to be convinced that biomass is the new market we need, but the more I look into it, the more obfuscation I encounter.

Forester Bell seeks a study showing solar will work in Georgia. Georgia Power’s web pages (renewable energy -> solar -> solar potential)
http://www.georgiapower.com/spotlightsolar/solar_potential.asp
include a map of Georgia’s Solar Potential, Continue reading