JASPER, Ga. – The second part of the development of Sharktop Ridge Road has reached its conclusion with a city approval to annex the land into the city.
Originally meeting last month to discuss the topic, the council had agreed to table the item to allow for a more detailed study on Burnt Mountain Road as feasible alternatives to access the land being developed.
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.
Three new points of detail were offered in favor of keeping the entrance at Sharktop Ridge Road including a survey from Chastain & Associates, P.C., a cost estimate on building the road from Burnt Mountain Road, and an accident report on the intersection of Cove Road and Sharktop Ridge Road.
Mark Chastain was on hand from Chastain & Associates, P.C. to discuss what it would take to build the entrance down from Burnt Mountain Road. Speaking mostly on the grade, or slope, the road would have to take and how long it would need to be to not exceed the maximum grade. Chastain did say that an entrance from Burnt Mountain Road could be possible, but it would need to be close to a quarter mile at maximum grade on the road. He went on to say that he had originally recommended to those looking to develop the property because “it’s a safety aspect of having to climb or descend at maximum grade for that long to achieve the difference in elevation from highway to the road.”
He explained later that fire code preference is a 12% grade, meaning you rise 12 feet for every 100 feet you travel. Chastain continued saying that in his time in engineering and surveying experience, traveling at maximum grade for that long could cause extra stress to vehicles. Without some way to level out or alleviate stress on the vehicles, you could approach an increased risk to situations “where clutches fail.”
However, this suggested that if added points of leveling for vehicle stress relief or other extra steps were taken, it could be possible. Chastain noted however that, in his opinion, Sharktop Ridge Road provides a better, more pleasant, grade to make it a safer entrance relative to Burnt Mountain Road.
The second point came when Paul King, the representative of Sharktop Ridge, LLC., presented a quote he received on accomplishing the Burnt Mountain Road entrance, he noted an extra $200,000 in costs on top of the current costs of developing the property. King called the extra costs a “deal killer” for the project.
King noted the original plan from Chastain saying he didn’t want to spend the extra money on a “marginal, somewhat unsafe road to come into the development.” He went on to say that the road would also take out one of the planned lots for the development representing a loss to the usable residences in addition to the road costs.
Finally, King asked Jasper Police Chief Greg Lovell to comment on the accidents at the intersection of Cove Road and Sharktop Ridge Road regarding a comment from the June meeting indicating an already bad intersection due to a high number of accidents.
Chief Lovell reported there were no wrecks there in two years. Though two accidents were noted, one in 2007 and another in 2009. However, citizens present at this meeting still noted numerous instances where they had to quickly slam on their breaks or nearly missed other vehicles at the location. They also commented saying that the council should take into account all the extra traffic they would be bringing to location as well.
Though the council did ultimately approve the annexation, this is not the end of the discussion of Sharktop Ridge. The council noted several times that they would revisit the issue. They discussed options such as if the city could place certain restrictions on the development. Mayor John Weaver noted that the city had an option of a planned unit development. He noted that the council could approve the planned development before the council and any change made would have to come before the council. However, all these ideas will come later.
City Manager Jim Looney stated, “There will be opportunities for the developer to work with the mayor and council, and city manager, on what it looks like if it is annexed in and developed.”
Hundreds of people get sick each year from inappropriate pesticide use. Pesticides are used in homes, workplaces, apartments, farms and other places where humans need to control pests such as weeds, insects, fungi, rodents and even viruses. Of the 11 states participating in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pesticide safety program, workers reported 853 serious injuries from pesticides in 2011. During National Pesticide Safety Education Month this February, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension personnel are urging homeowners, and all Georgians, to learn more about the safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides.
According to Dr. Mickey Taylor, UGA Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) Coordinator, “pesticide safety education is key to helping homeowners and pesticide applicators, both commercial and agricultural, safely and effectively use available pesticides to protect their homes and crops and livelihoods. At the same time, they want to protect themselves, their employees and colleagues from any potential ill effects of pesticide use in addition to protecting their families and neighbors. As good stewards of the land, pesticide users want to preserve our environment for the future.”
UGA Extension’s PSEP promotes the safe, responsible use of pesticides by individuals and commercial groups by providing training programs, materials and educational resources covering pest identification, personal safety, safe storage and disposal of pesticides, environmental protection, pesticide drift and runoff prevention, threatened and endangered species protection, water quality protection, and food safety.
One way that UGA Extension reinforces safe pesticide usage is to conduct workshops, meetings, and trainings in which pesticide usage and safe handling is taught. One such course coming up is the North Georgia Commercial Apple Production meeting. It will be held on Wednesday, February 21st at the Gilmer County Public Library on Calvin Jackson Drive in Ellijay. There are other regional trainings held for producers. If you would like information about those trainings, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
Dr. Taylor is also the editor of the UGA Extension “Georgia Pest Management Handbook.” The handbook is revised and published annually. It has information about labeled pesticides that can be used by homeowners and commercial producers. Copies of the handbook are available for purchase through the UGA market place at ugaextensionstore.com and there are copies in the UGA Extension county offices if you would like to view one before purchase. Remember to always read the label before you use or store any pesticide.
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The Pickens High School is currently in a “soft” lock down, meaning the hallways and common areas are kept clear. This is being done to allow a planned K9 search of the facility. Students are not at risk and this has been a planned operation to continue to make our schools a drug free environment.
Additional details will come as the search is completed.
State troopers urge safety for the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday travel period is 102 hours and it begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23, and ends at midnight Sunday, November 27.
“Troopers will be focusing on occupant protection violations, and keeping a close eye out for impaired drivers and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a crash,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “We want to make holiday travel as safe as possible,” he added.
Last year, during a similar 102-hour period, troopers investigated 788 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 377 injuries and nine fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, troopers arrested 319 people for driving under the influence while issuing 9,620 citations and 15,729 warnings.
Troopers will not only be patrolling the interstates but the secondary roads as well. Make sure that everyone in your vehicle is wearing a seat belt and that small children are properly restrained in a child safety seat. Also, do not drive distracted and obey the posted speed. If you know that you will be consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver. “Sadly, each holiday period more than one-half of the people killed in motor vehicle crashes are impaired or not using safety belts,” Colonel McDonough said.
The Georgia State Patrol will also be teaming up with law enforcement officials from across the state for a concerted effort to encourage safe travel through Operation Click It or Ticket, Georgia’s high visibility seat belt enforcement program and Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Operation C.A.R.E. is a nationwide traffic safety initiative aimed at reducing the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads by balancing high visibility enforcement with educational outreach.
The holiday traffic count will be updated throughout the holiday travel period on the Georgia Department of Public Safety Twitter page: https://twitter.com/ga_dps.