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5-5-04 Oconee County Opened Pandora's Box With Residential Sewer Policy Change

Oconee County’s change in policies for sewer service for residences has opened a “Pandora’s Box”. There will be more and more developments and sooner or later a Mobile Home Park or two. “The cat is out of the bag”!

AVOC

May 5, 2004

Oconee County Opened Pandora’s Box With Residential Sewer Policy Change

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Developer Discusses MPD Proposal with Bogart Council

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc. -Another Voice Oconee County

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   AVOC sources have reported that Developer Benson Davis appeared at Monday's (5-3-04) Council Meeting and presented a proposal for 100-unit high-density development near Landrum and Thompson streets.The sketches presented dealt with a 28 acre tract known as the "McLeroy Estate" property.Eight acres on the front would be reserved for commercial uses.  

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   The project is subject to agreement with Oconee County for Sewer Service.The project contemplates condominium like homes selling in the range of $9,000 -$0,000.It would involve approximately five detached dwellings per acre. The residential units be bricked and would contain approximately 1600 square feet.  

   There was some discussion of sharing the sewer line cost with Benson's Bakery who helped fund the Bogart Sewer line along with a $ 500,000 Dept of Community Affairs Grant to Bogart and considerable county funds.

    Nearby resident and former councilman, T. L. Turman, questioned the density of 100 residences on 20 acres of land.The current Bogart Ordinances does not allow this type residential development and will have to be revised.Bogart has scheduled a meeting at City Hall at 6:30 P.M. on May 11 to hear a presentation on the ordinances from a representative of the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Authority.

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    There was also discussion about traffic, upgrading Thompson street and increased demand on City Services such as garbage services.  

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PANDORA'S BOX & "SWEETHEART DEAL" FOR BENSONS

   It is obvious that Oconee County's change in policies for sewer service for residences has opened a "Pandora's Box".There will be more and more developments and sooner or later a Mobile Home Park or two.   "The cat is out of the bag"!

    Ironically, Bogart, the city, is more appropriate for such a development than 90 % of the locations that have been approved by the county.At least sidewalks can lead to something besides old soybean fields.   The next question is how many such developments can Bogart serve?  Also, the children will attend Oconee County Schools and the residents will use county roads and other facilities.

    The possibility that Benson's Bakery may receive compensation for the sewer line is disturbing.Benson's got a "sweetheart deal" from Oconee County Commission Chair Melvin Davis when it connected to the Land Application Site at Eastville. 

    During my last year in office, we were negotiating with Benson's and Bogart to fund the "Bogart Line".  Some in Bogart did not want the City to pay a cent toward cost.(Some who are probably now supportive of adding residences to the county sewer system).The City did get a Development grant of $ 500,000.The County estimated the cost of trunk lines to the Development Authority Commercial Park area to be around $ 1.5 Million.

   The county had budgeted SPLOST funds for the main extensions to the Commercial Park and to the "Orkin Tract" but not to run the lines all the way into Bogart TO SERVE ONE BUSINESS!We asked the City and Benson's to come up with around $ 600,000.00 to make it all work.   

   After I left office, I heard that Bensons "hooked on" for around $ 200,000 and the County picked up the rest. AVOC also understands that Bensons is one of the few companies to benefit from the enlarged 100% inventory Freeport exemption granted by the county a couple of years ago.(If county records can show differently, then AVOC will copy and print those.It is not always easy to get documents on such matters).  

    Is it just coincidence that Mr. Larry Benson is registered as the campaign manager for Melvin Davis's reelection?It is also not surprising that someone at the County may have suggested the incentive to connect to the county may involve reimbursement to Benson's.  

    Many folks think that the public interest is presently taking a beating in Oconee County!Oconee seems to have a vital and aggressive "Good Ole Boy System" in control and county interests do not always seem to be put first by some officials.


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