Five water items at Lowndes County Commmision + a board appointment @ LCC 2017-02-14

If you care about water and sewage and water quality in wells and rivers, many county commission and city council decisions affect all of those. Here are some examples this week from the Lowndes County Commission (LCC), which represents the most populous county in the Suwannee River Basin, upstream from Florida.

Also, WWALS board member Phil Hubbard was appointed to the Valdosta Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizens Advisory Committee (VLMPO CAC), which makes two WWALS board members on appointed boards in Lowndes County, since Gretchen Quarterman has for many years been on the Valdosta-Lowndes County Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBOA), which despite the name is a decision-making body with appeal only to the courts.

The highly contentious rezoning from R-10 to Estate Agriculture (E-A) on Alexandria Street for animals and maybe an additional residence, REZ-2017-02 Calles, is a water item, because of the wetlands, and a neighbor’s claim that wells were being polluted. Other water issues included the emergency custom switch for the Bevel Creek lift station single-sourced from Cowart Electric for $18,850, the engineering and permitting for the Jumping Gully Bridge for which they approved $19,750, the Valencia Street Drainage Improvements, which they tabled for more analysis to determine which option to pursue, and Stacey Young’s CWTBH request from Roger Budd Company not to have to pay $300,000 to drill under Bemiss Road to connect to county water and sewer for an existing development.

Two of these items will be back in March because they were tabled: REZ-2017-02 Calles and Valencia Street Drainage Improvements. It’s very likely developer Roger Budd’s request for relief will also be on a March Lowndes County Commission agenda (they meet twice a month).

Below are links to each of the videos by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE) for these items plus a few notes, from the LCC Work Session 2017-02-13, from the LCC Regular Session 2017-02-14, and for the rezoning also from the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission 2017-01-30.

  • 5 a. Valdosta Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization Board (VLMPO) Work Session 2017-02-13
    
      5 a. Valdosta Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization Board (VLMPO)

    Video. They did name the three three candidates for two VLMPO vacancies, but none of them were present. At least one wasn’t even aware he was actually a candidate. Not sure why the County Engineer was reading the names, although I note one of them works for an engineering firm which does a lot of business with the county.

  • 5a. Appointment VLMPO (part 2) Work Session 2017-02-13
    
      5a. Appointment VLMPO (part 2)

    Video.

  • 5 a. Valdosta Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization Board (VLMPO) Regular Session 2017-02-14
    
      5 a. Valdosta Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization Board (VLMPO)

    Video. In a refreshing change of procedure, they nominated all three candidates for two VLMPO vacancies:
    Scottie Orenstein nominated Richard Kerby.
    Clay Griner nominated Clayton Milligan.
    Mark Wisenbaker nominated Phil Hubbard.
    Votes: 1 for Kerby, 3 for Hubbard, 3 for Milligan.
    Hubbard and Milligan were elected.

    However, only after they voted did they ask the candidates to speak. They clearly had never met Hubbard, since they didn’t know who he was, and the Chairman and the agenda got Clay Milligan’s name wrong.

  • 10. REZ-2017-02 Wilmer Calles on behalf of Rosa Calles 13.6 acres GLPC 2017-01-30 
      10. REZ-2017-02 Wilmer Calles on behalf of Rosa Calles 13.6 acres

    Video. Second longest in this GLPC meeting at 17 minutes.

  • 6b. REZ-2017-02 Calles, Alexandria St, R-10 and CON to E-A ~13 acres Work Session 2017-02-13
    
      6b. REZ-2017-02 Calles, Alexandria St, R-10 and CON to E-A ~13 acres

    Video. County Planner Jason Davenport says this rezoning was a response to code enforcement complaining about livestock on the property. He says it’s partly in floodplain and recharge area. Plus some neighbors will be objecting. GLPC recommended tabling, but now there’s an environmental survey that GLPC did not have. “I will tell you that what you’re really walkting into is probably a very contentious public hearing.” Both applicant and opposition have pictures and petitions or letters. Applicant has also had to answer questions sent by neighbors to DFAX, GA-EPD, Lowndes County Sheriff, code enforcement, etc. Planner said he considered the applicant “under assault” by the neighbors, whom he said would probably provide tonight “a healthy dose of venom”. Planner said he was fine with moving forward, and tabling might “allow things to fester”. He also noted the Planning Commission didn’t even hear this case until 8PM because of an even more contentious Valdosta case.

    Answering Commissioner Clay Griner’s question, he said the applicants currently own one horse, two ponies, three goats, chickens, and ducks. He added that Mrs. Calles, the mother of the applicant, also owns two adjacent properties, and she is the owner of the subject property.

  • 6 b. REZ-2017-02 Calles, Alexandria St, R-10 and CON to E-A, 13 acres Regular Session 2017-02-14
    
      6 b. REZ-2017-02 Calles, Alexandria St, R-10 and CON to E-A, 13 acres

    Video. In addition to his comments the previous morning about livestock as a motivation, County Planner Jason Davenport this time said another motivation was to eventually put a home on the property, neither of which would be permitted under the present R-10 zoning, but would be under E-A zoning. He clearly favored the rezoning, and said there were many letters from neighbors both opposed and in support. In response to a question from Commissioner Demarcus Marshall, Davenport recited a slightly longer list of animals now and proposed than before.

    Applicant Wilmer Calles, also speaking for his mother Rosa Calles who is the landowner, named a long list of agencies he’d talked to, said all the animals were fenced, and expressed willingness to compromise by moving any animals they needed to.

    In opposition, neighbor Clifford McMaugh of 2761 Alexandria Street, complained about mosquitos, horseflies, and claimed all the neighbors wells were being polluted, and also about rattlesnakes and water moccasins drawn to eggs. He said school buses drive fast down Alexandria Street and if they hit a horse “it’s gonna be problems”. He also said somebody poured concrete in his well and said the applicant admitted doing it.

    County Planner Jason Davenport said the Planning Commission had not really heard this case, only 10 minutes from the public, right after County Chairman Bill Slaughter only allowed 10 minutes from the public in this County Commission meeting.

    Commissioners wanted to see reports from the alphabet soup of agencies and also Rev. Rose of SCLC, before they made a decision, and also to let the Planning Commission hear it again. So they tabled it until March.

  • 7 d. Bevel Creek Lift Station Automatic Transfer Switch Work Session 2017-02-13
    
      7 d. Bevel Creek Lift Station Automatic Transfer Switch

    Video. Utilities Director Steve Stalvey said much work has been done on this station over the years, and the problem is due to deterioration from the hydrogen sulfide gas. Since this is the last lift station before the Land Application Site (LAS), he considers it an emergency; he asked for a single quote; and he got it, from Cowart Electric for $18,850. Asked to clarify by Chairman Slaughter, Stalvey clarified that this is not an off-the-shelf item, it has to be custom built.

  • 7 d. Bevel Creek Lift Station Automatic Transfer Switch Regular Session 2017-02-14
    
      7 d. Bevel Creek Lift Station Automatic Transfer Switch

    Video. Emergency Repair requiring a custom-built switch single-sourced from Cowart Electric for $18,850. How it’s handled now: someone needs to hurry over within 20 minutes to flip the switch because automatic transfer switch is broken. They approved the expenditure unanimously.

  • 7f. Professional Services for Jumping Gully Rd Bridge Replacement Work Session 2017-02-13
    
      7f. Professional Services for Jumping Gully Rd Bridge Replacement

    Video. County Engineer Mike Fletcher said EMC Engineering Services had completed the hydraulic analysis for $19,750 which determined the bridge needs to be raised 9 feet to get it out of the 100-year flood plain and to meet current GDOT requirements. A Commissioner wanted to know when this bridge was built. Fletcher said he didn’t know, but he would have this information Tuesday evening.

  • 7f. Engineering and Environmental Permitting – Jumping Gully Bridge Regular Session 2017-02-14
    
      7f.  Engineering and Environmental Permitting - Jumping Gully Bridge

    Video. County Engineer Mike Fletcher said EMC Engineering has completed the hydraulic analysis and now wants to do the permitting; this is for the Jumping Gully Road bridge over Bevel Creek. He didn’t say the amount, but the previous morning he said it was $19,750 which determined the bridge needs to be raised 9 feet to get it out of the 100-year flood plain and to meet current GDOT requirements. They voted unanimously to approve.

  • 7f. Jumping Gully Bridge (pt 2) Regular Session 2017-02-14
    
      7f.   Jumping Gully Bridge (pt 2)

    Video. The previous morning Fletcher also promised to say when this bridge was built. He did not. However, after they voted, County Manager Joe Pritchard said the bridge was built in 1971. Chairman Bill Slaughter again thanked Commissioners for moving ahead SPLOST VII, saying this was one of seven bridges in those approved tax expenditures.

  • 7 g. Drainage Improvements – Valencia Street Work Session 2017-02-13
    
      7 g. Drainage Improvements - Valencia Street

    Video.

  • 7g. Drainage Improvements – Valencia Street Regular Session 2017-02-14
    
      7g. Drainage Improvements - Valencia Street

    Video. County Engineer Mike Fletcher said this is at the intersection of Valencia and Milano Streets and there are two ways to do it; he presented pictures. They tabled it for more analysis of which option: curb and gutter, done by county (asphalt) or not (concrete) or other method such as a pre-cast grate, or a concrete poured solution.

  • 8. Reports (none) 9. CWTBH – Stacey Young (Roger Budd Company) Regular Session 2017-02-14
    
      8. Reports (none)  9. CWTBH - Stacey Young (Roger Budd Company)

    Video. No report from the County Manager. Stacey Young of Roger Budd Company said they’d run into an issue with a project on Daly Road, where they want to pave all the roads and put in 55 new mobile homes. It’s an infrastructure problem, namely the county wants them to tie into county water, which would require boring under Bemiss Road at a cost to the developer of about $300,000. He asked for relief from the buffer to hook up to the infrastructure because they already have well and septic tanks. He said the state said they could reuse their existing infrastructure if the county would supply a letter saying no county infrastructure. He would be happy to connect if the county wanted to run water and sewer in there, but he couldn’t see paying $300,000 given that this is not a new development.

Here’s a LAKE video playlist:


Five water items at Lowndes County Commmision + a board appointment @ LCC 2017-02-14
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *