The Greene County Board of Commissioners has had a productive start over the past few months.
Development news and changes
The Board of Commissioners has continued to review, evaluate and sign off on multiple new residential developments, as well as enact changes to the Zoning Ordinance to ensure sustainable growth that is mindful of existing residents’ desire to live in a rural setting.
Of the new growth, the Board gave the green light to another 16-lot phase of the high-value Horseshoe Bend section in Reynolds Lake Oconee. The Board also signed off on 90 lots in Del Webb, 21 lots in Traditions at Carey Station, and a 65-lot new subdivision off of Parks Mill Road.
The Board also consulted with the County Attorney to overhaul the Zoning Ordinance. In addition to a number of minor formatting revisions, other major changes to the Zoning Ordinance included defining major versus minor utility, PUD consolidation, detached accessory buildings, open space changes in PUDs, and adding utility facilities rules and buffer requirements to go along with the major versus minor utility definitions. The open space changes have introduced a density component to make sure developers seeking to develop homes closer and closer together on fewer acres have to correspondingly increase and preserve open space in the overall development.
The Board had a hand in two major developments with the Greene County Regional Airport. The Commissioners gave their blessing to a new Airport Services Agreement and Fixed Base Operator Agreement between Spirit Aviation and the Airport Authority. The new agreements were negotiated by members of the Airport Authority and should generate additional revenue to help in managing the Airport’s expenses more going forward.
The other major development at the airport was the Airport Widening and Runway Overlay project. The project to widen the runway from 75 to 100 feet was successful and completed in the fall of 2016, but due to an error made by the contracted engineer WK Dickson’s surveyor that underestimated the amount of asphalt needed, there was a resulting dispute between the engineering firm and the company doing the actual work to widen the runway. After weeks of negotiation between the parties, the Board of Commissioners approved a settlement agreement to keep the dispute out of the Courts. The Board already gave additional funds to cover the asphalt needed, but the settlement finally came together as the company doing the work agreed to take less than what they invoiced and the company making the error in the first place agreed to pay as well.
The Commissioners moved the regular meeting from the second Thursday to the second Tuesday, but the regular meeting still starts at 5 p.m.
More importantly, the meeting format has changed slightly. There is no Chairman’s Comment at the beginning of the meeting. Instead, the Chairman arranges for a different child to help lead the Pledge of Allegiance and asks different pastors and Board members to say an invocation before the meeting is called to order.
The Commissioners continued to support the continuation of the East-West Connector project and its latest phase the Liberty Connector. Slated to open this summer, the Liberty Connector will dramatically improve access back and forth to the Liberty communities and other areas of southeast Greene County.
The Board is also weighing options on improving the Richland Connector, Stagecoach Road, and Willow Run Road. Meanwhile, work is expected to begin in May on replacing the Old Eatonton Road bridge over the CSX railroad. The project was held up while the County deals with various bureaucratic delays in dealing with CSX railroad’s construction and insurance requirements.
Public Safety improvements
The Commissioners opted to replace two of its ambulances using $305,940 in SPLOST funds. However, instead of simply declaring both used ambulances as surplus property, the Commissioners approved the transfer of one of the units being replaced to the Sheriff’s Office for use as a crime scene unit.
The Commissioners also approved a $28,514 budget request from the Sheriff’s Office to pay for a new Courthouse security camera system.
The County has continued to approve various agreements with the Cities of Greensboro, Siloam, White Plains, and Woodville for services like 911 Dispatch Services and Radio System use, Animal Control, Elections, and SPLOST funding for City fire departments. However, Union Point is still at odds with the County over the Service Delivery Strategy and certain services and is appealing the judge’s ruling that is in favor of Greene County’s position in a disagreement over non-emergency dispatch services, use of the county-owned radio system, and other services between the County and Union Point.