BOC addresses Zoning Ordinance in most recent meeting
By Stephanie Johns
The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) dealt with a variety of items from ordinance amendments to awards and proclamations during its meeting last Tuesday morning.
Morgan County Senior Planner Tara Cooner guided the BOC through text amendments to the Morgan County Zoning Ordinance.
“The main goal of these amendments is to reorganize the ordinance to make it more user friendly,” she said, adding that they removed repetitive and unnecessary language as well as aligned the ordinance to reflect state law changes.
Cooner noted that the changes were prompted by complaints to the Planning Office that the ordinance was too difficult to use and too large.
“If I as a planner can’t look at it and come up with an easy answer, I don’t expect the public to do it,” she said.
During the October meeting of the Morgan County Planning Commission, the commission approved all eight of the amendments to the ordinance that came before it.
The BOC approved these amendments as well.
Cooner said that members of the public may submit text amendments in writing to the Planning Office for consideration.
For amendments to go into effect takes about two months: the public must submit an amendment, staff reads the proposed amendment and makes changes it feels necessary, the Planning Commission considers the amendment and finally the BOC considers the amendment.
BOC Chairman Ellen Warren noted that an enormous amount of time went into these amendments.
“I want to tell you all how much we appreciate it,” she said. “I know you all have been working on it for some time.”
The BOC also accepted Morgan County Works Superintendent Gregg Pennington’s recommendation to go with the bid from All About Asphalt out of Bogart to have a portion of Greenwood Road paved and to have a portion of Centennial Road realigned so as to remove a hump in the road.
Via letter Pennington shared that there are more than 400 feet on Greenwood Road that needs to be taken out and a new base put in place. As for Centennial Road at Newborn Road, Pennington shared that there is a section of road that causes buses and trucks with trailers to get hung up, requiring a wrecker to get them loose.
All About Asphalt estimated that it will cost about $14,000 to put in an asphalt base on Greenwood Road and about $13,000 to realign Centennial Road.
Another recommendation that the BOC accepted came from Morgan County Senior Center Director Benita Watkins to extend its contract with Georgia Food Service.
The BOC heard a final reading of the amendment to the county’s alcohol ordinance, which now allows restaurants in the county to have a sales ratio of 60 percent food to 40 percent alcohol, a change from its previous ratio of 75 percent food, 25 percent alcohol.
The request came from Angela Clark of Cowboy’s.
Commissioner Andy Ainslie pointed out that a restaurant must be open five days a week and serve two meals a day.
Morgan County Planning and Zoning Director Chuck Jarrell said that Clark’s lawyer had communicated this to his client.
Ainslie then noted that this change in the alcohol ordinance would align the county with Madison’s alcohol ordinance.
Bob Hughes, Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce President, presented the BOC with its Deal of the Year Award from the Georgia Economic Developers Association.
They received the award for bringing Baxter International to the area, which will have a significant economic impact on the Georgia economy.
Warren asked if Baxter was hiring yet and Hughes replied that they are hiring the upper echelon right now and that they will eventually hire 1,000 associate degreed individuals.
“It’s a huge, huge feather in our cap,” he said.
Warren read part of the Retired Educators Day Proclamation, which states that there are more than 97,000 retired educators in the state. Retired Educators Day was Nov. 4.
The BOC also approved its consent agenda, which included five motions.
The first approved the FY2013 Area Agency on Aging Contract between the county and the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission.
The second approved the quote from Eventide for the Nexlog Generation Communications Logging Recorder for more than $17,000.
The third reappointed Joe Cardwell to the Planning Commission.
The fourth approved the payables from Oct. 1 through 26.
The fifth accepted the September 2012 Staff Reports as presented at the Oct. 16 work session.
The BOC also accepted the 2013 list of county holidays. Their January meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 8 as their regular meeting would have fallen on Jan. 1. At the Jan. 8 meeting they will determine the need for a work session as their regularly scheduled one will follow only one week later.
Printed in the November 15, 2012 edition