DAWSON COUNTY, Ga – County Commissioners approved the development of two new subdivisions during Thursday’s voting session but tabled another to give the developer and nearby property owners time to work out a compromise.
Speaking as the agent for the property owners, attorney George Butler requested rezoning 111.9 acres on Dawson Forest Road near the intersection of Blacks Mill Road from Residential Agricultural (RA) to Residential Sub Rural 2 (RSR) for the purpose of building a 194-residential lot subdivision. The Board approved 3-0 with Commissioner Sharon Fausett recused.
The Board also unanimously approved a request to rezone 20 acres on Hwy. 53 East for the purpose of developing a 120-unit townhome community with a commercial component. One portion of the property to be rezoned from Commercial Highway Business (CHB) to Residential Multi Family (RMF) and another to be rezoned to RMF (Residential Multi-Family) and CHB.
Commissioners tabled the request by Fall Leaf Residential to rezone 65 acres on Hwy. 9 South from Residential Sub Rural (RSR) to RA 3 for the purpose of building a 141-lot residential subdivision. Six area property owners objected to the development which they said is out of character for an area populated by homes built on 2, 3 and 4 acres. Commissioner Chris Gaines said, “To me this is not the right zoning for this piece of property.” The Board then voted to table the request indefinitely.
Commissioners also approved a Dawsonville Gun and Pawn request to rezone 3.43 acres on Hwy. 53 next to their existing business for the purpose of constructing a 7,000 square foot, 10-stall indoor shooting range. The vote was 3-0 with Commissioner Chris Gaines abstained.
Commissioners voted to table Sheriff Jeff Johnson’s request for additional staffing. At the Feb. 4 County Commission meeting, Chairman Billy Thurmond gave a power point presentation that demonstrated that Dawson County citizens pay more per capita for law enforcement than surrounding counties like Lumpkin, Pickens, Hall Forsyth and Cherokee that have larger population.
On Thursday, the Sheriff’s attorney, Joey Homans, countered with his own 15-minute power point presentation. He said that to compare the per capita cost of Dawson County law enforcement to surrounding counties without taking into consideration those counties have city police departments with their own budgets is meaningless. He argued that when the city budgets are included in the comparison, Dawson County’s cost per capita is lower than all surrounding counties except Lumpkin.
Chairman Billy Thurmond made a motion to table the issue until the Board could assess the presentation and he could meet with the Sheriff.
Commissioner Tim Satterfield questioned why the Sheriff did not present this information before the Board approved the budget in December. “We went through budget hearings and meetings and I would have liked to see these numbers then. We have set the numbers and the numbers are tight. Now you come to us after the budget was approved. We didn’t see these.”