Monday, October 20, 2014

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Extends Purchase Contract For Clyde Armory For One Year

At Very Brief Meeting

The Oconee County Industrial Authority voted in a called meeting on Thursday morning to extend its purchase agreement with the owner of Clyde Armory until Nov. 15, 2015, for property the IDA owns south of SR 316 in the west of the county.

The IDA had agreed to the terms of the extension in an executive session at the end of its regular meeting on Oct. 13 but had not taken formal action in public. The meeting on Thursday was to make public the decision.

The actual meeting lasted only two-and-a-half minutes and was attended by only five of the IDA’s 11 members, but four of those five were constitutional members of the Authority, who vote on financial matters involving the Authority.

No indication was given at the public meeting of the reasons for the extension of the contract. Nor has there been any public discussion of what Clyde plans to do with the property.

Agreement In 2013

At a meeting in July of last year, the IDA agreed to sell the18 acres south of SR 316 to Andrew Clyde, who owns Clyde Armory, 4800 Atlanta Highway near Bogart. The sale price was $203,472.00.

The IDA had voted on July of this year to set closing on the property to Nov. 15 of this year.

The action on Thursday simply moved that closing date back a year.

Clyde was at the IDA meeting on Monday and went into the executive session with the IDA. Also in attendance was Brad Callender from the Oconee County Planning Department.

Mary Lenihan filed an open records request with the county on Aug. 12 asking for additional information on the property, including details of underground and above ground storage tanks and permits for wastewater discharge.

Lenihan did not list her address or affiliation on the open records request.

The property is separate from the main Gateway Park property, which is north of SR 316 between McNutt Creek Road and Pete Dickens Road on the southern edge of Bogart.

Two Authorities

Oconee County's Industrial Development Authority actually is two bodies.

The county had an industrial development authority that was set up as part of the state constitution. In 1983, when the constitution was revised, the county's industrial development authority was removed from the document

The county was authorized to reestablish the authority via an act of the legislature, and the county did that.

Later, the General Assembly passed a development authority act, which allowed counties to create a development authority. Oconee County did that as well.

The two groups meet as one, and five of the 11 members are "constitutional" members, meaning members of the original group, and the remaining are associate members, meaning members of the second body.

Chairman Rick Waller, Chuck Williams, Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis, Oconee Chamber of Commerce President Kay Keller, and Watkinsville Mayor Charles Ivie are "constitutional members, and all but Davis were at the meeting on Thursday.

The only non-constitutional member of the Authority who attended the meeting at 10 a.m. at the courthouse in Watkinsville was Mark Thomas.

Thomas Appointment

Thomas was appointed to the IDA as an associate member by the Board of Commissioners at its meeting on Oct. 7, but the term specified in the motion by Commissioner Luke and approved by three of the five Commission members was for a two-year term expiring Dec. 31, 2016.

That would mean the term begins on Jan. 1 of 2013.

Chairman Melvin Davis sent Thomas a letter dated Oct. 8 stating that his “appointment will begin immediately.”

The IDA had a vacancy among the associate members because member John Morrison resigned in August after leaving the county earlier in the year.

The BOC could not legally vote to appoint Thomas to the unexpired term by email or phone, since that is prohibited by the state’s open meeting law.

I could not attend the IDA meeting last Thursday, and Sarah Bell recorded the video above.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oconee County Planning Commission To Review Plans For Another Medical Complex On Virgil Langford Road

New Phase: Three Sixteen Professional Quarter

The Oconee County Planning Commission will be asked tomorrow night to give its approval to the rezone of 14 acres at the corner of Virgil Langford Road and Jennings Mill Road that will be part of a 65-acre complex including medical and professional offices and a retirement community.

The project joins recently rezoned Resurgence Park, which now includes a dermatology and cancer center that is nearing completion and another retirement community under construction, in defining the area along Virgil Langford Road north of SR 316 as a medical office destination.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oconee County Chamber Of Commerce Had Beautiful Weather For Its Fall Festival

250 Vendors

A big crowd turned out today on a picture-perfect fall Georgia Saturday to enjoy the Oconee County Fall Festival in downtown Watkinsville.

Vendors numbering 250 stretched from Main Street to beyond Thrasher Drive, with the heaviest concentration in Rocket Field opposite the old school gym.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Watkinsville’s Approach To Beer And Wine Ordinance Enforcement Matches That Of Oconee County

No Audits

The city of Watkinsville joins Oconee County in taking a lenient approach to enforcement of a key provision of its beer and wine ordinance.

License holders are required to document that they earn no more than 25 percent of their revenue from beer and wine, but, in the renewal applications for this year, only three of the four license holders provided information on food and beer and wine sales.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oconee County Industrial Development Authority Enters Into Agreement For Assistance In Study of Prezoning

CVIOG Gets Contract

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority voted Monday to spend up to $8,000 for consulting services as it moves forward with its study of prezoning properties the county thinks should be designated for development.

The Authority accepted the recommendation of its Product Development Committee that it enter into an agreement with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government (CVIOG) at the University of Georgia for the consulting services.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Third Quarter SPLOST Revenue Grows Only Slightly As Oconee County Begins Voting On New SPLOST Referendum

Neighboring Counties Do Better

Oconee County Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue increased by less than a percentage point in the third quarter of 2014, while neighboring Clarke and Barrow counties experienced strong growth.

The third quarter report included only about six weeks in which electronics retailer Best Buy was operating in the county, since tax distributions are a month delayed. But other major retailers in Epps Bridge Centre have been operating for nearly a year.

Requests For Open Records Filed In Oconee County Deal With Horses, Dogs, Births, Deaths And Cell Towers

Snapshot Reveals Variety

Three people wanted to know about complaints filed with Animal Control.

Seven wanted information from Code Enforcement.