Refinance of 2014 bond could save city taxpayers $200,000

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawsonville City Council has tentatively agreed to re-finance a 2014 bond that was issued at an interest rate of 3.05 percent. The new rate will be 1.76 percent, which will generate a saving of approximately $200,000.

Before final approval, however, council directed the bonding company to provide a final analysis of the exact savings.

Council also approved a series of appointments to various committees. Marcus Sewell, a Lumpkin County Chief Investigator who has announced his campaign for Dawson County Sheriff,  was appointed to the city’s new ethics committee. Susan Thiesen was appointed to the Planning Commission. Perry Bohn was appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission and Jamie McCracken was appointed to the Downtown Development Authority.

Council also approved:

A registration application by CSL Georgia Realty/CSL Georgia Systems known collectively as unity to use the public right of way to install, operate and maintain telecommunication devices for public telephones, internet and broadband. In exchange, Unity will pay the city 3.5 percent of its monthly revenue;

A conditional use permit for Atlanta Motorsports Park to build garage condos at its facility on Duck Thurmond Road;

A motion to approve a zoning amendment correction on property located at 86 Hwy. 53 west from Institutional District (ID) to Town Business District (TBD) was approved unanimously;

A budget amendment to spend $8,000 for conceptual design of an amphitheater at Main Street Park;

A contract with Custom Fence of Atlanta in the amount of $127,199 for fencing at Main Street Park, with the stipulation that it is to be built in stages;

A potential change order in the amount of $49,563.30 for Main Street Park. The vote was 3-0. Councilman Caleb Phillps abstained.

Council denied the alcohol amendment ordinance and directed staff to move forward with drafting another ordinance.

Also denied was a request by Atlanta Motorsports Park to expand its teen driver training facility.

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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City Council approves contract for beautification of Main Street Park

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawsonville City Council last week unanimously approved a contract with Tri Scapes, Inc for beautification of the Main Street Park Area, including installation of sod, irrigation, planting of trees and shrubs in the amount of $126,775.51.

Council also approved a staff request to apply for the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant Emergency Fund to repair Main Street to the park. The estimated cost is $140,000-$150,000. If the grant is awarded, the city would provide a 30 percent match.

Requests by Jeremy Porter, owner Atlanta Motorsports Park, for a conditional use permit to build garage condos at the facility located at 20 Duck Thurmond and a site plan update to construct a driving center parking lot were postponed until Sept. 9.

Council unanimously rejected Mostafa Elahy’s appeal to Planning Commission’s May 13 denial of a variance to the minimum lot width and front setback at 280 Maple Street South.

Council also held a first reading of a broad range of land development ordinances that regulate how subdivisions can be developed, what standards are in place for roads, including road widths, materials used on roadways, water and sewer specifications and what type of pipes are used for drainage systems. A second reading of the ordinances is scheduled for July 15.

Council agreed to authorize a design guideline committee to begin planning what the citizens want to see in building design in the future.

By a vote of 3-1, council approved the firm of Alexander, Almand and Bangs to perform the city audit. Councilman Mark French made a motion to approve Mauldin & Jenkins, but the motion died for lack of a second.

Council also voted to postpone a decision on appointing a citizen representative to the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission. David Headley has held that position, cut as Dawson County Manager, council decided Headley did not qualify as a citizen representative.

 

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. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

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Plane Crashes at Atlanta Motorsports Park

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Private plane crashed today at Atlanta Motorsports Park.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — A single-engine plane crashed at Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawson County today (Oct. 30) at approximately 8:30 a.m.

Dawson County Deputy Public Safety Director Tim Satterfield  said the unidentified pilot was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville where he is believed to be in serious but stable condition. He was the only occupant of the aircraft. No passengers on the ground were injured.

Satterfield said the Piper took off from the Gainesville airport and was en route to Chicago when the plane experienced mechanical problems and the cockpit began to fill with smoke.

Fetch Your News will have more details as they become available.

 

 

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 FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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City Council Addressed AMP-Related Issues

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawsonville City Council was expected to render a decision on Atlanta Motorsports Park’s request to modify existing zoning stipulations at the track at Monday’s meeting but the applicant decided last week to withdraw the request.

Several related issues were on the agenda. An ethics complaint against former Downtown Development Authority member Seanie Zappendorf was rendered moot by her resignation. Zappendorf was accused of misrepresenting herself as a city employee.

City Attorney Dana Miles pointed out that the most an ethics committee could do would be to issue a letter of reprimand or direct counseling but since Zappendorf is no longer associated with the city, the issue should be considered moot. He recommend the board direct City Manager Bob Bolz to write a letter to the complainant explaining what had happened. Councilwoman Angie Smith made that motion and it passed unanimously.

Council was also expected to appoint an ethics committee but decided to postpone appointments until  the July meeting. The three-member committee is to be made up of one member appointed by the mayor, another appointed by the council and a third to be chosen by the mayor and city council together. That member must be a member of the Georgia Bar.

On May 1, council tabled a request by Len Reeves to modify existing zoning conditions on property located at 280 Maple Street zoned R-6, (residential multi-family) to await the results of a traffic study. But Planning Director Casey Majewski told council she had only received the study on the day of the council meeting and did not have time to review it. The request was tabled until the July meeting.

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AMP Owner Called for Zappendorf Resignation

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AMP owner Jeremy Porter

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Atlanta Motorsports Park owner Jeremy Porter said he suggested Seanie Zappendorf step down as a member of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) as soon as he learned about the complaint filed against her by Carlita Parks.

Parks’ complaint to City Manager Bob Bolz that Zappendorf misrepresented herself as a city employee is the basis for a formal ethics complaint. Zappendorf is not a city employee, but was a member of the DDA when she questioned Parks about her complaints against AMP.

The race track was involved in a controversial zoning issue at the time and Zappendorf’s questioning of Parks could be seen as a conflict of interest since she and her husband, Ron, own Discover Parts, a racing parts store that leases property at the track.

An email obtained from city officials confirms that Porter wrote City Councilwoman Angie Smith on May 2 stating:

“I wanted to bring an issue to your attention that affects both AMP and the City of Dawsonville in the hope that we can work together to find a resolution.

“Please find attached a copy of a letter that was sent to Bob Boltz (sic) by Carita Parks who is a nearby resident of the AMP track. In her letter, Mrs. Parks describes the actions of one of our tenants, Seanie Zappendorf, who appears to have interfered in both City of Dawsonville and AMP business while making false claims to be acting in an official capacity for both parties. (Giving Mrs. Parks a card with city of Dawsonville on it, when in reality it is the DDA / Stating she is an investor in AMP). I am not certain her actions were malicious, however I believe it does require action on our part.

“Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor, nor has she been given permission to act on our behalf in any way under any circumstances.

“I am extremely alarmed that any local resident should feel as if they are being given a ‘warning’ by a representative of AMP or the DDA. I would like to, with your permission, inform Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf is not an AMP investor and that her actions are not endorsed by us. I would also urge you to use this opportunity to provide reassurance to Mrs. Parks that Mrs. Zappendorf does not have any authority with the City of Dawsonville when it comes to assessing sound levels.

“My suggestion is to ask that Mrs. Zappendorf step down from the DDA. However, I would welcome your feedback on how to directly address this resident’s complaint and Mrs. Zappendorf’s actions.

“I would also be interested to discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Zappendorf resigned from DDA six days later and AMP has withdrawn its request for modifications to its zoning stipulations.

City Council is expected to appoint a three-member ethics commission Monday to hear the complaint.

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Atlanta Motorsports Park Withdraws Zoning Request

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Atlanta Motorsports Park has withdrawn its request to modify existing zoning stipulations at the facility, blaming a “last-minute snafu” by city officials. But the issue is almost certain to resurface again in six months.

George Butler, the attorney for AMP, notified City Planning and Zoning Director Cathy Majewski in an email last Friday that the track is withdrawing its request for now.

Butler said City Attorney Dana Miles contacted him three days after the last public hearing on March 18 and asked him if AMP would be willing to withdraw the residential components (mini-cabins and garage condos) from the request.

In his email, Butler wrote: “ As you know, ZA -89 went before the Mayor and City Council with a Recommendation for Approval from the Planning Commission at its March 13, 2017 meeting which included a recommendation for expanding allowable uses of the CIR property (as requested by AMP) to include both “garage condos” and “mini cabins.”

… “So you can imagine my surprise when Dana Miles contacted me three days after the last public hearing and brought up, for the first time in the entire four-month process (which began January 17) the question of whether my client would be willing to withdraw those critical “residential components” from the pending ZA-89 on the basis the entire ZA-89 was improperly advertised since the CIR zoning classification in the City of Dawsonville does not support residential uses.

…”AMP has decided not only to withdraw the residential component of ZA-89 at the City’s invitation but also to withdraw ZA-89 in toto and it hereby does so with the full understanding that this withdrawal may prejudice its rights to re-apply for any zoning change for a period of 6 months and result in the forfeiture of its application fees. Unfortunately the impact of our residential component to AMPs vision for the future and the seriousness of this last-minute snafu leave my client little choice.”

Council was expected to vote on the request at Monday’s meeting.

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Ethics Hearing Raises Dark Cloud Over Request by Atlanta Motorsports Park to Relax Restrictions

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Former DDA member Seanie Zappendorf resigns following an ethics complaint.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – On Monday, the same Dawsonville City Council that once appointed Seanie Zappendorf to the Downtown Development Authority will appoint a commission to hear an ethics complaint against her.

Zappendorf  is accused of misrepresenting herself as a city employee while lobbying on behalf of Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP), a company in which she and her husband have a business interest.

DDA Chairman Jeremy Porter

Seanie and Ron Zappendorf own Discovery Parts, a racing parts store located inside AMP. The facility is seeking to have city council relax sound, lighting and hours of operation restrictions at the facility. Track owner Jeremy Porter is chairman of the DDA on which Zappendorf served until her resignation May 8.

Her resignation follows a letter of complaint sent from Carlita Parks to City Manager Bob Bolz on April 27 in which Mrs. Parks says Zappendorf told her she works for the City. Members of the DDA are not city employees.

Parks wrote: “My husband and I were working in our yard on 4/15/2017 when Mrs. Seanie Zappendorf approached me in her vehicle. Mrs. Zappendorf inquired about my opinions on AMP and asked if I had any complaints about the noise. During the discussion, I voiced my concern about the highly noticeable noises that frequently occurred because of the AMP. Mrs. Zappendorf gave me her “City of Dawsonville” business card and asked me to contact her if we had any further complaints about the noise. She did say that she works for the city but didn’t state working for the city council (although Mrs. Zappendorf is an investor at AMP).”

Parks said she did as requested and called Zappendorf on April 18 to complain about the public address system and was told, “If the few people who are against AMP speak up about their opposition, the people who support AMP will become afraid their homes will be vandalized.”

In her complaint, Parks added, “I am a registered nurse who has been devoted to caring for others for years, and for it to be heavily insinuated that I would be one of the few who would go around vandalizing other’s homes is unacceptable. Mrs. Zappendorf’s statements were spoken in a way that implied a warning to me.”

Following the appointment of an ethics commission, council will appoint someone to replace Zappendorf on the DDA, then hold a second public hearing on the relaxation of stipulations requested by Porter and AMP.

The complaint raises questions about Porter as chairman of the DDA and what he knew about Zappendorf’s alleged lobbying on behalf of his race track and whether or not he should resign as well.


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

 

 

 

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City Council Won’t Decide on AMP until June

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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.

Attorney George Butler argued on behalf of AMP owner Jeremy Porter.

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

 

 

 

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