Jasper City Council discusses Sharktop Ridge annexation

News

Jasper, Ga. – The Jasper City Council dealt with an option to annex into the city limits a section of property on Sharktop Ridge Road.

The annexation is a part of a Planning and Zoning issue revolving around Paul King looking to have a residential development in the area connecting to Sharktop Ridge. The development would host around 23 homes, according to King. While he would utilize city water for the project, the sewage would be dealt with in septic tanks.

However, King and his development project have been met with resistance on the project at the Planning and Zoning level as well as at the council meeting. While none in opposition directly opposed the project itself, several citizens spoke in opposition to the project connecting to Sharktop Ridge. Almost an hour of discussion was spent at the council’s June 4 meeting delving into the heart of the citizens’ concerns. Ultimately, the viable complaints focused on the safety of the road with increased traffic along a treacherous left turn onto the road as well as the wear and tear on the road with an extended period of heavy construction equipment traveling the road as the only access point to the development.

While options were discussed such as moving the access to another point, possibly Old Burnt Mountain Road, or at least having the construction traffic access the development in an alternate route, no official action was taken. This is because the opposition to the project asked for additional study and options to prevent the “undue stress” on residents.

While there is no point where the city can officially block what is allowed under a residential zoning, this issue arises as the land is being considered to be taken into the city as an R1 zone to allow the project to move forward. King mentioned and later agreed to bring in an engineer to analyze the viability of accessing the land from Old Burnt Mountain Road despite the extra costs. However, King did note that he already had the engineer glance at the area and offer a preliminary estimation that the slope and grade of the road would make accessing the land there far too costly for the project.

The council will be looking at the agenda item again next month along with requested documents like the engineer’s official report and an accident report on the road and intersection with Cove Road. One citizen also requested they provide an additional independent engineer’s opinion on the access viability.

As discussion heated after 35 minutes, Councilmember Tony Fountain commented saying, “We’re sitting here tonight to discuss and vote on the annexation of that property … The last time I checked, we still live in a free country where if you have the good fortune to take your retirement and buy a piece of property. And you wanted to develop it and [sic] make you a little money. Who is it for us to say, ‘No, you can’t do that because you might disturb some of your neighbors.'”

He was not the only council member to comment as new member Kirk Raffield also spoke up. One of the first council members of the night to mention tabling the issue to further investigate, Raffield questioned King on his willingness to access a different road. While King suggested an increased cost would make him unwilling to go that route, he had previously agreed to look into it and said he would be willing to investigate, putting off the item until next month.

Raffield also commented on the item as a whole thanking both parties for attending the meeting. He went on to say, “As frustrating as it may be on both sides, thank you for sticking with it. Please do not lose your temper, remain professional at all times, that’s why we’re here. I know it’s frustrating … I understand your concerns, and I understand your right. So, please remain patient with us.”

With the official motion to table the annexation of the property in an effort to look for better information, citizens are already considering returning July 2 to see the further information provided and continue the discussion there.

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Jasper City Council Talks Costs and Purchases

News

Meeting on April 2, the Jasper City Council revisited its Vehicle/Equipment Purchases as well as two additional purchases.

As the Jasper City Council continues discussing their purchases for Vehicles and Equipment, David Buchanan brought another vehicle before the Board with the request. The City of Jasper recently lost one of its trucks in an accident. Receiving just under $17,000 from the other parties insurance, the City was not at fault in the accident, Buchanan requested the City add replacement for the truck as a part of the vehicle purchases.

However, the City was planning to buy a new truck, fully equipped, for $46,200 with the insurance payment and a left over balanced between the current request as it stands and what the City budgeted for the purchases originally. As discussion continued, Mayor John Weaver came to realize that the insurance and remaining budgeted funds combined would only reach approximately $37,000, short of the needed $46,200.

With that knowledge the county moved forward approving the purchases totaling $521,322. As said, this comes in below the budgeted $540,000.

The Council also approved $4,450 to purchase an Automatic Switch. Although the purchase was higher than expected, the need of a 200-amp plug for the switch at the station and a few extra parts drove the costs up.

Another purchase the City approved came for the Police Department whose speed detection lasers are in need of replacement. Chief Greg Lovell informed the council that the older devices are becoming to0 expensive to continue sending off for repair. Instead, Chief Lovell requested the Council’s approval for $3,099.99 each for two Pro Laser 3s. Lovell informed the council that purchasing two at once would incur a discount as each laser alone originally costs $3,599.99. Additionally, Chief Lovell said the purchase would come out of its Tech Fees and would not require digging into the budget.

For more information, check out the recorded meeting below.

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