DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – A standing-room-only audience packed Dawsonville City Hall Monday in hopes that — after six months — city council could finally make a decision on the sound, lighting and operating hours variances requested by Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP). But, after a one-hour public hearing, supporters and opponents left disappointed as council members chose to punt. A decision is not likely until June 5.
Some progress was made, however. Owner Jeremy Porter made several significant concessions to area residents who oppose the variances and the city did conduct a sound study.
Sound engineer Tom Trask presented his findings prior to the start of the public hearing. He said the study showed the track did not exceed the city’s imposed 69 dBa (the terminology refers to a weighted decibel limit on average for a-16 hour period). But it was unclear why the four sound monitors were not placed at the track, but instead were placed at four area residences.
Both sides were given 30 minutes to present their case. George Butler, a highly-animated Dahlonega attorney, took the full 30 minutes to argue on behalf of the owner.
Butler began by withdrawing AMP’s request for unlimited noise on 15 days each year. Now, the track is asking for unlimited noise only on the 4th of July.
Butler pointed out that the county’s Planning Commission had recommended a 98 dBa public address system limit at trackside but the owner is only asking for 80 dBa at 50 feet from the edge of the track.
AMP’s current operating hours are from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Nov. 1 through March 31 and 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (or one hour after sunset) from April 1 through Oct. 31. Porter would like to have the hours extended between March 15 and Nov. 15 to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Retained in the proposal unveiled Monday was the request to build condos or micro-cabins on the property.
Several area residents spoke in opposition to the variations, most complaining about the noise and potential loss of property value. One man said regardless of the sound study, the noise is disruptive from as far away as a mile.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C.If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The City of Dawsonville will hold two important meetings Monday. At 3 p.m., the council will conduct an up or down vote on the removal of Mayor James Grogan from office for allegedly violating the City Code and Charter. At 7 p.m. there will be a public hearing on a highly controversial request by Atlanta Motorsports Park to relax lighting, noise and hours of operation restrictions.
Grogan was the subject of a city-wide investigation to decide what, if anything, should be done to ensure city officials are in compliance with the charter. The conclusion was that Mayor Grogan should be removed from office.
At last week’s meeting, Gainesville City Attorney Abbott Hayes, who led the investigation, reported that Grogan had been paid for meetings not authorized by city council, charged alcohol and gasoline to his city-issued credit card, allowed a state representative to pay the lower residential rate for water, sewer and garbage for a business instead of the appropriate commercial rate and that he authorized lower fees for rezoning applications than those set by council.
In responding to the charges, Grogan said, “I’m disappointed in council and what they have laid out. A lot of things they have pointed out go back five years and we’ve made a lot of policy changes since then. I didn’t do anything wrong. This is the result of a witch hunt that has been conducted by two city council members against me for the last year and a half.”
Hayes report alleges that in 2015, when State Rep. Kevin Tanner complained about paying the higher commercial rate for city water, sewer and garbage on behalf of Tanco Investments, LLC, Grogan unilaterally allowed him to pay the lower residential rate instead.
Between 2013 and 2015, Hayes said, Grogan approved donations to nonprofit organizations, including golf tournaments in which he participated as a player. When the City Attorney pointed out that donations to nonprofit organizations by the City violates the gratuities clause of the Georgia State Constitution the payments stopped.
The City Charter provides for the mayor to be paid a monthly compensation of $2,000 plus $100 “for each specially called city council meeting, work session or other meeting that has been pre-approved by the council. But Hayes alleges that Grogan charged the city for meetings that were not pre-approved by council.
Finally, Hayes alleges that in Nov. 2014, Grogan instructed city employee Sara Beachem to purchase four bottles of alcohol for him to give as a door prize at a regional government dinner. The report states that the Mayor’s unilateral decision to purchase alcohol for use as a door prize without approval of the city council violated the City Code and Charter.
Section 5.15 of the City Charter provides the mayor shall be subject to removal for any one or more of the following causes: Incompetence, misfeasance or malfeasance in office; Abandonment of office or neglect to perform the duties thereof or Failure for any other cause to perform the duties of office as required by this Charter or by law.
The 7 p.m. public hearing is expected to draw a standing-room-only crowd as council votes on modifications to the current provisions at Atlanta Motorsports Park that include changes to lighting, sound restrictions, hours and addition of condominiums.
A March 13 Planning Commission hearing on the issue drew a packed house, made up mostly of angry citizens who live near the track and say the noise has already destroyed the tranquility and quality of life in the area. Despite community objections, planning commission voted 2-1 (Stan Worley in opposition) to recommend the modifications.
City council tabled the issue so council members could visit AMP and experience the noise levels firsthand.
The land where AMP was built was annexed from Dawson County and county commissioners wrote a letter to city council requsting council reject the changes on behalf of the citizens who live nearby.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawsonville City Council will meet Monday, Apil 3 at 5 p.m. in the G.L. “Pete” Gilleland Council Chambers at City Hall, 415 Highway 53 East. Among the items council will decide is an amendment to zoning conditions that would relax noise and light restrictions on Atlanta Mororsports Park at 80 Joe Lane Cox Road.
Council will hold a public hearing to allow citizens to express their support or opposition.
The issue prompted the Dawson County Board of Commissioners to write a letter to city government expressing its opposition. Commissioners acknowledge they have no jurisdiction in the matter, but requested the city to take into consideration the opposition of county residents who live near the facility.
- Items to be voted on under New Business, include
- Appointment of a member to fill the vacancy on the Planning Commission;
- A proposed change to the alcohol ordinance
- Setting a deadline for submitting agenda items and support documents;
- Acceptance of bids for water meters;
- Acceptance of bids for water system improvements/well development;
- Renewal of the lease agreement with the house located at 224 Flat Creek Drive;
- A resolution proclaiming April 23-29 as Georgia Cities Week;
- A special event permit to serve alcohol at the Bowen Arts Center.
Council will then hear staff reports from the City Manager Bob Bolz, City Clerk Bonnie Warne and Utilities Director Gary Barr.
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) could begin work immediately on access controls where Ga. Hwy. 400 intersects with Kilough Church Road and the North Georgia Premium Outlets after Dawson County Commissioners voted last night to authorize a letter of support for the project.
The Right In Right Out Left In (RIROLI) access controls will be fully funded by GDOT and should cause minimal inconvenience to motorists since the work will all be done within the existing Right of Way.
Commissioners Sharon Fausett and Chris Gaines missed last night’s meeting while attending training. Their absence required Chairman Billy Thurmond, who usually votes only in the case of ties, to vote on all issues.
The three-person Board voted unanimously to apply for a GDOT grant to fund the repair of a wing wall off Dawson Forest Road along Blacks Mill Creek damaged in last year’s storm.
Commissioners also approved the purchase of a side arm mower and utility tractor mower to replace three tractors that are no longer serviceable at a cost of $210,000. The equipment will be purchased with SPLOST VI proceeds.
In addition, commissioners approved a Drug Treatment Services request to apply for a state grant in the amount of $279,514 to bring HELP Program under Treatment Court as a mental health court track. A county match of $31,057 is required from county funds.
The Board also agreed to renew an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City of Dawsonville authorizing the county to organize and implement all municipal elections and another IGA with with Etowah Water and Sewer Authority regarding the Taffer Road Gravity Sewer Line.
Commissioners authorized two resolutions to be sent to the City of Dawsonville, one expressing opposition to the city’s purchase of the airport located in Dawson County and it’s future operations and another expressing opposition to a request by Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) to relax noise and light restrictions.
During the Public Comments period, Jonathan Wolfe asked commissioners to revisit the Paladin Wireless issue. Paladin is a Royston-based wireless internet provider that has proposed placing antennas on the roof of the courthouse. The company said that by doing so it can provide internet access to 400 customers who do not have access.
But commissioners tabled the issue last month to give the company time to provide additional information they requested and Chairman Billy Thurmond said the company has not yet responded.
District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Hamby expressed real concerns about liability issues and whether county taxpayers would be responsible to pay for any damage to the roof or injuries to Paladin personnel who have access to the roof.
Hugh Stowers spoke to the Board about improving communications with its citizens. Mr. Stowers pointed out there are some major projects on the horizon and that citizens need to be fully informed.