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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City addresses Adult Entertainment sign

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JASPER, Ga. – Citizens are still in confusion about a sign appearing at the Shops of Jasper announcing “Adult Entertainment” coming soon.

According to City Manager Brandon Douglas, the City has no application or permitting for an adult entertainment business or signage at this location. He went on to note the property owner has also told him he has no intent to pursue this kind of business.

Douglas said that the City has reached out to the property owner about the sign and has received acknowledgment about the sign and it will be coming down. While no fine or official action is being taken because of this acknowledgment, Douglas said the city will be following up with the property owner if the sign does not come down.

As for the possibility of an Adult Entertainment type of business, the city does have zoning where it could be allowed, but Douglas said it is restricted to industrial areas and is also listed as a conditional use permit. This means that if a business like this would be created, it would have to go through zoning and come before the Mayor and City Council for approval. Douglas assures citizens that this type of business would be well advertised, as all conditional use permits are, well in advance of the business opening.

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Jasper City Council discusses Sharktop Ridge annexation

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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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Pickens Board of Commissioners Meeting April 21st 2016 – Video

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