DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Republican Renee Duren, a strong and vocal opponent of the massive Etowah Village development, said today she will campaign for Chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners in 2020.
“I love Dawson County and I believe this is a pivotal point in our county’s future,” she said. “Under the current chairman’s leadership, the Board has approved multiple rezoning requests that go against our Comprehensive Plan. That plan is the most effective instrument we have to address inevitable growth and achieve the results this community desires. We must develop a plan that reflects our community’s vision and then follow it. This is imperative if we want to maintain our quality of life and avoid becoming the next Forsyth County.”
This will be the first campaign for public office for Duren, a former dental practice manager and surgical assistant who also taught dental assisting at a community college in North Carolina. She says her lack of political experience is her greatest asset. “Too often, experienced politicians tend to forget who elected them,” she said. “I will never do that.”
Another concern, Duren said, is the county currently has four different versions of the Future Land Use Plan.
“The Board of Commissioners voted and approved Version 1,” she said. “Then Version 2 was posted on the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) website. Version 3 was posted on the Dawson County website and Version 4 is currently displayed in the reception area of the Dawson County Planning Department.”
If elected, Duren said she will make information regarding development easier for citizens to access by creating an interactive map that allows the public to see the exact location of property up for rezoning as well as existing zoning, future land use designation and current development. “All of the categories would be viewable as layers on the same, easy-to-locate map,” she said
She said she also wants to improve the communication between the Chairman, Board of Commissioners and department leaders.
“When Etowah Village submitted a new rezoning application in August, I noticed it on the website,” Duren said. “I contacted one the commissioners to ask some questions about the application only to find out that the commissioner had not been notified of the reapplication. A commissioner should not learn this type of information from a citizen, a system should be in place to communicate things like that.”
She explained her opposition to Etowah Village by saying it is wrong for our county.
“It’s not in line with our Comprehensive Plan,” she said. “The results from the community survey as part of the .Comprehensive Plan shows that only 11% of the respondents wanted “a lot of development.” The latest version of Etowah Village called for 1,000 apartments and 400 homes. In my opinion, that’s a lot of development. Also, Etowah Village is not in conformance with the Future Land Use element of our Comprehensive Plan which designates the property as Residential Planned Community and Commercial Highway Business.”
Duren and her husband Michael are the parents of a 5-year-old son who attends Robinson Elementary.
For more information on Renee, visit her website at www.reneeduren.com