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4-4-04 Oconee County MPDís --- Smart Growth or Run Away Growth

To me, smart growth means concentration of residential areas in areas having infrastructure and county facilities: Water, sewer, schools, Fire Stations, Police Stations, Voting Facilities, Libraries, Medical facilities, recreation, waste disposal etc. . The Oconee MPDís are scattered all over the upper half of the county where most of these facilities are lacking. . See List and Map Below:

AVOC

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April 3, 2004

Oconee County MPD’s --- Smart Growth or Run Away Growth

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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The Oconee MPD’s are scattered all over the upper half of the county where most of these facilities are lacking.

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Recent reports (including the BOC’s recent (Slick Magazine Campaign Brochure -Oconee 2003 Review) on Oconee County’s growth have referred to the MPD’s as “Smart Growth”!

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To me, smart growth means concentration of residential areas in areas having infrastructure and county facilities:   Water, sewer, schools, Fire Stations, Police Stations, Voting Facilities, Libraries, Medical facilities, recreation, waste disposal etc.

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The Oconee MPD’s are scattered all over the upper half of the county where most of these facilities are lacking.

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Apparently, the County is allowing the pumping of sewage from considerable distances to the LAS system at Eastville.   This facility was built for Commercial and Institutional development.

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However, the commercial use has been mostly limited to a bakery at Bogart that received a “sweetheart deal” for connection early in this administration.(My administration had been negotiating a connection fee of around $ 600,000 but AVOC sources indicate the amount paid was more like $ 200,000)

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This subsidy of almost a Half Million Dollars was done for a business that pays about $ 22,000 a year in property taxes!It will never pay the cost of the sewer line!!!.The owner of this business reportedly is Campaign Chairman this year for Melvin Davis.

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This rate of residential growth will turn Oconee into “Another Gwinnett County”and will overwhelm our schools and other facilities.THE ELIMINATION OF PARA-PROS FROM THE SCHOOL BUDGET IS ONLY THE BEGINNING.

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We need candidates for office who will repeal the ill-advised MPD Ordinances and who will work toward moderate residential growth.

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Change is needed before the damage is irreparable.

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Location Map for 2003 MPDs

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MPD MPD List


From December 2003 AVOC Quarterly Review

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MASTER PLANNED DEVELOPMENTS IN OCONEE:

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Without much public discussion & little publicity, Oconee County has been approving future apartment-like complexes all over the County.The current Oconee County Board of Commissioners have taken somebig policy change steps that will only accelerate population growth and the overloading of the County’s infrastructure.

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One step was to allowsewer service for residential units throughout the county with limited sewer capacity. Oconee is approving them all over the county and away from normal urban amenities that go with such housing.There are no fire stations, police stations, and other infrastructure within miles of some of the developments.

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The next major step was to approve a new zoning classification called Master Planned Developments.This type developmentallows several residential units per acre.It usually calls for some commercial and ‘mixed-use’ development as well as ‘green space’.   It is doubtful that commercial activity of any consequence will come to some of these areas in the next 10 years.Of course, the residential units will come!Some commercial developers want to see ‘roof tops’ so we can have more stores.This is a short-sighted goal.It disregards the severe impact on schools and county services and the county’s rural road system.

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In 2003, there were 1552 MPD residential units approved through the rezoning process. Not all of these lots have been final platted at this time nor have these subdivisions necessarily been built.These are in addition to hundreds of lots approved for conventional subdivisions.

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There seems to be little doubt that dense residential developments are being inventoried or stockpiled like developers did in Athens in the 70’s and 80’s.Many of these projects will be a surprise to neighbors when they start building.Many are accustomed to a ‘new subdivision coming’ but this new phenomenon will change Oconee County’s landscape.

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Above is a chart & map showing the developments that were approved in 2003. (THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE CONVENTIONAL SUBDIVISIONS WHICH ADD MANY, MANY MORE LOTS)One can estimate at least 2 ½ people per unit and add that to our population and our school system.   One commissioner recently wrote a letter to the editor “bragging on” the MPD’s approved this year.

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I believe there are citizens and long-time residents who still care.   However, with our scant county media coverage, most are really not aware of what is happening to us.   One can monitor the rezones by going to the County’s website and looking at the Minutes of BOC meeting.  There are several rezones at every meeting including large tracts.The November and December Minutes show several approved with a large number of lots.These rezones will be challenges to the County Schools and infrastructure for years to come.   Developers and Big Bucks are dominating our county government and at the rate it is currently going, they will eventually “kill the golden goose”!


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