The Jasper City Council went into closed session in February to discuss their action on Jonah Lane from December 2019.
Mayor John Weaver told citizens they were discussing a legal issue with Jonah Lane and recognized City Attorney Bill Pickett to give the City’s official stance on the rezoning.
Pickett said that the Council did vote to re-zone the property to R-3 with a condition of receiving a letter from the Appalachian Regional Commission that it did not violate a grant the city had received. With no motion from the council to rescind the rezoning and no request from the property owner to rescind it, the rezoning is moving forward.
This statement comes after January’s Council meeting when public comments surged against the issue and urged the council to reconsider the effects it would have on neighboring commercial developments. The rezoning in question was a C-2 lot as well. Now the rezoning sets it to residential amid other commercial developments. Citizens began protesting the issue in the meeting saying that police would undoubtedly be called as many of the neighboring commercial business owners gave examples of their businesses operating in unusual hours and causing noise that would be acceptable in commercial but considered excessive in residential zones.
More complaints came in February as citizens began questioning the legality of the issue. One business owner claims he was not properly notified of the rezoning. He also claims he has proof of the failure to notify. A claim disputed by Pickett as he says the city’s department says they did notify the adjoining properties of the request. The business owner also suggested he has had difficulties receiving requested documents. These allegations, as well as others from another neighbor to the property, suggested the city would be seeing legal ramifications if they move forward with the rezoning.
Mayor Weaver closed discussions of the issue saying, “The council’s action in December was specific… we are to follow what the council did that evening and we are aware of the issue.”
Mayor Weaver did voice opinions against the rezoning in December and to possible issues arising from it, but as the voting council members voted in favor of the rezoning, it is the council’s votes that direct the city’s efforts.
JASPER, Ga. – The rezoning for apartments to be constructed on Jonah Lane in Jasper has stalled in this months meeting after discussion raised community pushback on the change.
Leftover from the December meeting when the rezoning was first brought up and conditionally approved by the council, they now have questions and discussions coming for the future of the C-2 lot. The pitch was to rezone to R-3 for apartments.
Both Brad Dilbeck and David Shouse, local developers, made note of lack of notifications for the initial rezoning requests, though Dilbeck said one of his tenants was notified. They also made comments that the Council speaks for the citizens but they don’t know or have had contact with council-members.
Shouse also said that he developed his land under the pretext that other commercial developments would come around him. He said, “There’s no way any other developer, in their right mind, is going to build anything else commercial beside this project.”
The main argument against the apartments comes from being so close to industrial lots. Those owners said they know they will get complaints and have to deal with the police for noise complaints and complaints about late and early hours of work.
With expectations of freedom to operate how they see fit, business owners said they chose their locations for its general distance from residential areas.
Other complaints revolved around traffic and wear on the road in competition between the current commercial traffic and a potentially a hundred extra cars.
Ultimately tabled for next month, the stall in the issue doesn’t mean the rezoning will be denied. It is still under investigation by the council who could be making a final decision next month.
JASPER, Ga. – The City Council is continuing to see dissension among the ranks as a disagreement has now arisen about organizational meeting appointments.
As the January meeting reached item “VI. Organizational Meeting,” Council member Dr. Sonny Proctor stated he wanted more information on these appointments saying, “I think the council should have prior knowledge of who the appointments are, what the duties are. We need to make sure that we educate them to do their jobs properly.”
The point of debate came from the council members wanting more information and control on the decisions before coming to open meeting. Mayor John Weaver contended against the point saying that he, as mayor, makes the decisions to put before the council during meetings.
Weaver consulted city attorney Will Pickett, Jr. who stated, “The mayor has the right of appointment and the council can decide whether or not to approve your appointment.”
Proctor disagreed with Pickett saying, “I don’t think that’s what the code says.”
Moving along on the item, Weaver presented three appointments for the council’s approval, Luke Copeland to the Planning and Zoning Commission, Karen Proctor to the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals, Don Boggus to the Housing Authority. All of these were re
All three appointments saw a motion from Tony Fountain, but no second. Each failed for that lack of a second.
Weaver stated during the failed motions, “This is the chaos that prevails.”
Pickett noted that without new appointments those serving would continue to serve until an appointment is approved.
Proctor stated after the motions failed that he was trying to prevent the chaos. He said, “The council deserves input on who serves on these committees. And we’re not saying we don’t disagree with your appointments, but we deserve input on it.”
With Proctor asserting he only wanted input on what goes on, Weaver responded saying, “Sir, you’ve got more input than you can imagine, so congratulations.”
There were committee appointments for council members that were approved. Finance committee includes Tony Fountain and John Foust. Water Committee is Tony Fountain. Public Safety Committee is Dr. Sonny Proctor. Street Department in Anne Sneve. Parks is John Foust. The JYSA Liaison is John Foust. Roper-Perrow Property is Jim Looney and Sonny Proctor. These were approved unanimously by the council.
JASPER, Ga. – With a review of city manager applications in November, the City Council was further updated at December’s meeting about accepted and Scheduled interviews for December 10 for candidates for the position.
With four interviews set for Monday, the candidate pool is shrinking towards a final decision to hire a full time City Manager. This position is currently being filled by former council member Jim Looney.
As the Council continues in executive sessions, they are to be advertised as meetings for the council to legally be in the same room for these interviews. However, the Council will immediately go into a closed executive session to perform the interviews.
After the interviews, it should not be long before the council makes their decisions and formalizes the personnel hiring at an official meeting.
Additionally at their December Meeting, the council officially adopted Sanitation Rate increases for six months of review. Council member Kirk Raffield noted in the meeting that during the six month period, he wanted a conversation and decision on the growth of the program and equipment. The new rates are as follows:
Residential – $20
Residential (Senior) – $18
Housing Authority – $14
Commercial (One Day) – $25
Commercial (Two Day) – $50
Commercial (Four Day) – $100
Commercial (Five Day) – $125
Restaurant – $150
City employees also saw a major change in Vacation Days and a Christmas Bonus for their careers in December’s meeting. Vacation policy changes were approved as proposed in the meeting by City Manager Jim Looney who stated, “Personnel Committee recommends that accrued vacation be changed from 40 hours per week to the scheduled hours that employees work. That would be a change for Firefighters to 56 hours, Police for 42, and Water and Sewer employees for 42 hours per accrued week.”
The bonus came later in the meeting. Looney also presented this proposal after a work session discussion. A motion was made to offer a Christmas Bonus and one-time Service Award for employees.
Less than one year of service – $150
One year to ten years of service – $250
Eleven to nineteen years of service – $500
Twenty or more years of Service – $750
Each of these amounts already have included within them a $100 Christmas bonus and the remainder is the one-time Service Award “to recognize the dedication of each employee.”
JASPER, Ga. – After May’s primary election night, Kirk Raffield pulled out a close victory of 272 votes to his opponents 262. With the 50.94 percent results, Raffield attended the city of Jasper’s June council meeting to be officially sworn in as a part of the council.
With it being his first meeting, Raffield swore his oath preceding the official call to order in their council meeting and officially took his seat after this. With many in attendance to watch the ceremony, one citizen, Regina Mosley Camp, took a moment to comment on the event saying she knew Raffield as a younger child. “I am truly excited for him because I know the quality of man he is,” said Camp.
Camp volunteered in Raffield’s campaign for the council, noting that she was fervent in her support because of what she has seen him do throughout her time with him.
The special election came after former council member Jim Looney stepped down to take the interim city manager position for Jasper. The seat has been empty up to this month.
With such a close race, Raffield moves forward on the council with a question on him constantly asking what he will bring to the council meetings and what he will accomplish for the city. Sitting in his first meeting, Raffield was not shy about his new seat, speaking fervently on an annexation issue specifically. Check out more by reading City Council discusses Sharktop Ridge annexation.
votes at *These election results are unofficial until being certified by the Secretary of State’s office.
2018 Pickens County Election Results
Pickens County Commissioner Post 1
Jerry Barnes (R) – 877 votes at 47.59%
Bart Connelly (R) – 431 votes at 23.39%
Amberle Godfrey (R) – 535 votes at 29.03%
Board of Education Post 2
Joeta Youngblood – 3,192 votes at 100.0%
Board of Education Post 3
Tucker Green – 2,626 votes at 65.36%
Byron Long – 1,392 votes at 34.64%
Board of Education Post 5
Steven Smith – 3,224 votes at 100.0%
Jasper City Council
Kirk Raffield – 272 votes at 50.94%
Doug Patterson – 262 votes at 49.06
2018 Georgia Primary Election Results
Casey Cagle (R) – 1,760 votes at 41.17%
Hunter Hill (R) – 569 votes at 13.31%
Brian Kemp (R) – 1,244 votes at 29.10%
Clay Tippins (R) – 507 votes at 11.86%
Michael Williams (R) – 195 votes at 4.56%
Stacey Abrams (D) – 330 votes at 55.93%
Stacey Evans (D) – 260 votes at 44.07%
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATES:
Geoff Duncan (R) – 738 votes at 18.98%
Rick Jeffares (R) – 1,484 votes at 38.17%
David Shafer (R) – 1,666 votes at 42.85%
Sarah Riggs Amico (D) – 392 votes at 73.0%
Triana Arnold James (D) – 145 votes at 27.0%
SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATES:
David Belle Isle (R) – 1,087 votes at 30.14%
Buzz Brockway (R) – 466 votes at 12.92%
Josh McKoon (R) – 618 votes at 17.13%
Brad Raffensperger (R) – 1,436 votes at 39.81%
John Barrow (D) – 321 votes at 59.12%
Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) – 161 votes at 29.65%
R.J. Hadley (D) – 61 votes at 11.23%
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:
Jim Beck (R) – 2,153 votes at 58.92%
Jay Florence (R) – 769 votes at 21.05%
Tracy Jordan (R) – 732 votes at 20.03%
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER CANDIDATES:
District 3 –
Chuck Eaton (R) – 3,201 votes at 100.0%
Lindy Miller (D) – 360 votes at 69.63%
John Noel (D) – 80 votes at 15.47%
Johnny White (D) – 77 votes at 14.89%
District 5 –
John Hitchins III (R) – 1,721 votes at 47.42%
Tricia Pridemore (R) – 1,908 votes at 52.58%
Dawn Randolph (D) – 355 votes at 69.74%
Doug Stoner (D) – 154 votes at 30.26%