Ordinances and Zoning changes in July Council

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JASPER, – The City Council is moving forward with ordinance changes and zoning issues in July with approvals for 2nd readings and zoning parcels.

The second reading for the new cruelty to animals ordinance and a second reading for changes to definitions and uses for Vape Shops were both approved in July’s meeting. As the second reading both have officially taken effect within the city now.

Additionally, Jasper Citizen Brad Dilbeck opened discussion with the zoning and uses in Mountain City Business Park. Nearly nineteen years old, Dilbeck said the occupants mostly focus on industrial, manufacturing, or distribution on the C2 zoning. The issue for Dilbeck comes as he owns eight parcels in the park and wishes to build on the four he has not already used.

Dilbeck requested the city discuss and consider changing the zoning to more closely resemble what he sees as the vast majority of its usage.

Jasper Mayor John Weaver noted that some issues that might arise with commercial and industrial intertwined such as heavy commercial traffic interrupting employees or delivery trucks or likewise heavy trucks used in industrial work mixing into small vehicle traffic on a smaller road.

Dilbeck said he wanted to have the zoning change for himself as well so he could build correctly with manufacturing which is not allowed in C2 zoning as well as should he need to change tenants on current property. The “incorrect” label, according to Dilbeck, causes issues with his plans for growth and construction.

Councilmember Dr. Sonny Proctor suggested the city take time to investigate root causes and take assessments on current usage in the area so they could understand and adjust accordingly.

Weaver also said he wanted a public hearing for the changes to allow other property owners to speak as well. Dilbeck agreed with the process saying it was reasonable to go through the usual zoning process.

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New fines set for leaving animals in cars

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JASPER, Ga. – The Jasper Police Department is asking the city for more guidance and direction on its cruelty to animals ordinance as the agenda item came up this week during the council’s meeting.

According to Lonnie Waters of the City of Jasper, the city has already received calls this year about animals locked in vehicles in the heat of the day. This issue was addressed last year with an amendment to regulate this action if the outside temperature is over 70 degrees.

Wanting wording to add fines to a  maximum to the violation of this amendment, the police were seeking the council’s input and approval to make an addition saying, “A violation of section 14-12 shall carry of maximum penalty of a fine of…” With no specific amount set in their proposal, the city was left to set a maximum.

Jasper Mayor John Weaver asked the council to set a fine with regards to the differences between city and superior courts saying, “I think we should allow people to plead guilty to a Cruelty to Animals by leaving in the car when they run into the Walmart, so that we can deal with them in the courts of Jasper, Georgia, instead of making it so extensive that they don’t want to deal with us. They want to take it to Superior Court.”

The city approved a motion to set fines at $50 for first offense, $100 for second offense, and $150 for third offense. With this new addition, citizens who may make a mistake of this nature will face the $50 fine for violation. However, repeat offenders will face harsher fines.

Extreme cases and death of animals are separated according to Police Chief Greg Lovell who said during the meeting that animal deaths would still require their own response.

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Brewery Ordinance Changes prep Jasper for new business

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JASPER, Ga. – Final approval came this month in the City of Jasper’s ordinance changes for breweries in the area.

While details were discussed last month on setting the costs for the license at $1,500, it was the July 2 meeting that that approved the final adoption as well as the effective date of the ordinance change to the alcoholic beverage ordinance allowing the business as well as the zoning ordinance change to include Brewery in the accepted uses under General Commercial (C-2) and General Industry (M-1).

The amendment allows brewers to manufacture malt beverages and beer in the city limits of Jasper and provides for the creation of the authorized license for that end. Additionally, City Attorney Bill Pickett confirmed the breweries were allowed to have consumption on premises and were exempt from city restrictions for consumption.

This means the allowance of tastings and similar events on premises of the brewery.

With the new ordinance, last month’s meeting indicated that other popular options at breweries would be available such as growlers and crowlers. For those still curious, a growler is a container or vessel that is used for the transport of beer. It can also be described as an air-tight jug, typically made out of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel that allows you to take draft beer from one place to another without a degradation of quality. A crowler is similar but in can form.

Citizen interest has already been shown as well as the business interest of at least one brewery to come. The only question citizens have raised so far is how the facilities will handle parking. A subject the council indicated would be handled with the zoning into only industry and C-2 commercial zonings.

 

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Jasper Council’s Grants and Complaints

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The City of Jasper seems to finally be bringing an issue to close after several discussions and applications for HMIG Grant from FEMA.

The grant, originally approved last year for $361,231, was bid out in March to the low bid of $403,629 with the unexpected inccrease coming due to the needed generators and engineering. After receiving the bids, the council planned on returning to FEMA to request an increase in grant money to $472,211. As of October 5, Jasper has received confirmation of approval of that request, which brings each involved entity’s share to Federal support to $354,158, State support to $47,221, and the city of Jasper’s portion to $70,832.

Although this still represents an increase of $16,647 over what the council previously budgeted, Lisa Hoyle, City Clerk, offered that the City has pushed a few projects back into next year and could redirect some funds from other areas such as a reimbursement for the Cove Creek Redirection project that was unbudgeted. The Council was also advised that pushing this project back further it would require a new bid process without the opportunity to request more funds in Grants. The Council has approved a motion to move forward with this project including the $16,647 increase in City Costs.

Another major issue coming from the Council’s meeting involved complaints under Jasper’s Noise Ordinance in reference to Rocco’s Pub. Shane Fendley came to the City Council to speak on complaints he made to the Mayor about the noise levels at different times and different levels over the past few years, escalating at some points that the bass from the music was loud enough to rattle windows at his house.

Fendley also stated he was not alone in his complaints with several families and homes affected by the issue. While they have been able to get it quiet at times, Fendley says it has never lasted long before they could hear it again.

Police Chief Greg Lovell also commented on the issue saying they have even went as far as issuing citations to the business after receiving several complaints and has even spoken with the business owner about switching to different forms of music including acoustic styles after a certain hour in effort to alleviate some of the stress on the local populace.

Jasper City Mayor, John Weaver, spoke on attempting to resolve the issue so that the business could flourish and the neighborhood could return to a level of quiet in the area. On that, he offered a suggestion that the Council motion for the Police Chief to return one last time to the business to discuss options and potential consequences for the business.

Though Mayor Weaver suggested options for further violations including an increased fine to hinder those in violation of the Ordinance or moving the issue to Superior Court to be handled as a nuisance, motion and approval came officially saying to “ask the Chief of Police to sit down with Rocco’s and discuss our current situation and the intent of the Council to move toward an injunction in Superior Court should it happen again.”

The City also came to a final adoption of its Millage Rate at 4.683 (a .15% decrease in the rate). The approval came while keeping the same homestead exemptions.

To see more of the meeting watch the full video below:

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