Citizen Stowers has recommendations for Board of Commissioners


Speaking during the Public Comments portion of Thursday’s Dawson County Board of Commission meeting, a long-time resident Hugh Stowers offered a number of recommendation for commissioners to consider.

Commissioner Julie Hughes-Nix felt many of the recommendations were sound and she thanked Stowers. She also suggested the Board take his recommendations under consideration then meet back in one month to review.

Stowers recommended the Board:

  • Work with the City of Dawsonville to equip and operate the new fire station on Sweetwater Juno Road which would respond to Atlanta Motorsports Park and a proposed airport, both of which belong to the city limits;
  • Request the Department of Transportation (DOT) Add right turn arrows on Hwy. 53 approach to Hwy. 9 in front of Burger King;
  • Discuss with DOT a way to make the entrance onto Hwy. 53 from the Ingles Parking lot safer;
  • Consider a way to make the intersection of Grizzle Road and Lumpkin Campground Road safer;
  • Launch a Facebook page similar to the City of Blue Ridge Facebook page to promote the county and demonstrate to citizens the amount of sales tax brings to the county;
  • Identify unsafe roads in the county and place them in a databank and showing the projected cost to make them safer;
  • Appoint individuals in each district to be the commissioners’ “eyes and ears” and keep them abreast of what is going on in their community.

Stowers expressed disappointment with the new housing development approved by the city on Hwy. 9.

“I’m disappointed when I drive up Hwy. 9 and look at what I call the kudzu field and see all the new piping there to serve the new multi-housing development approved by the city,” he said. “I feel sure the Etowah Water Authority will raise the cost to all its customers to cover the cost of construction to serve this development. The city can approve this housing for people living like sardines in a can, but can’t supply water, can’t supply sewer, education or law enforcement.”



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Planning Commission unanimously recommends denial of Dawson Forest Holdings variance


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Nearly one year after the Dawson County Board of Commissioners turned thumbs down on Dawson Forest Holdings plans to build 177 single-family homes and 95 townhomes near Hwy. 53 and Elliott Road, the plan resurfaced at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting.

It turned out to be no more popular in 2017 than it was in 2016. Dozens of area residents braved evening thunderstorms to attend the meeting and many stood up to voice their opposition to the plan. When the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial on two separate applications for a variance, the opponents applauded the commission’s decision.

Attorney Joshua Scoggins, who represents Dawson Forest Holdings, said there had been some “legal deficiencies” with the application last year and that a Superior Court judge had remanded it back to the county so those could be corrected. “That’s the reason we are coming back before you,” he said.

There were two variances applications. The first called for 15.828 acres to be rezoned from residential agriculture (RA) to residential multi-family (RMF) to build a 95-unit townhome community. The second requested that 59.497 acres be rezoned from RA to RMF to build 177 single-family homes.

Hugh Stowers speaks in opposition to Dawson Forest Holding development.

Hugh Stowers asked who will pay for the added services the development will require. “Who will pay for the added cost of law enforcement?” he asked. “Dawson County has increased the Sheriff’s Office budget more than any other department, and I’m sure you know the closer you put people together, the more crime there is.  This will reduce our quality of life and drive our property taxes higher than we have ever dreamed.”

Tony Passarello voiced concerns about the added traffic along Hwy. 53, a major artery between Dawson and Hall counties.

“To put this all in perspective, by 2020, the area buildup will include a 2 to 9 percent increase in peak traffic load along Hwy. 53,” he said. “We will have the addition of 300 apartments being built behind Dawson Forest Publix and the development of a 67-acre tract along Dawson Forest Road these same developers had already sold. The fully-opened Publix Shopping Center and Kroger Shopping Center would, of course, put more pressure on the intersection of Hwy. 53 and Dawson Forest Road.”

Passarello added that approval of the variance would create a density that will “have a serious effect on the safety of existing and future property owners in the area.

The proposal now goes to the Board of Commissioners for a final decision.



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Commissioners Vote on Budget Amendment Thursday


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners will vote on a $374,440.42 increase in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget to accommodate the county employee pay raise approved last month when they meet Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Dawson County Government Center Assembly Room.

County commissioners say the salary increase was necessary to avoid the high cost of training new employees who replace those who leave for higher-paying jobs elsewhere.

Hibbymo Properties – Nix Bridge, will ask the Board to approve a variance request to increase the maximum square footage of a proposed Dollar General store it plans to construct and to decrease the minimum amount of parking required. The location is 970 Harmony Church Road near the intersection of Nix Bridge Road. That request was denied by the Planning Commission on Feb. 21.

Commissioners are expected to vote on new members of the Long-Range Planning Committee, including Gary Pichon (Chairman), Ronnie Adkins, Teri Tragresser, Jane Graves, Hugh Stowers, Jo Brewer, Tim Costley, Mandy Power and Dick Scharf. They will also vote to fill a vacant spot on the Planning Commission.

Other items the Board will consider include:
⦁ A request to dispose of surplus assets from Public Works;
⦁ Revision of the county’s Take Home & Vehicle Policy;
⦁ Purchase of a Bobcat Compact Excavator for Public Works and
⦁ An update of the Multi-Jurisdictional Mitigation Plan.


County Holds Hearing on Millage Rate


DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — The Dawson County Board of Commissioners held the first of three public hearings on the 2016 millage rate and property taxes. The proposal is to leave the millage rate at 8.138, effectively increasing homeowners’ property taxes by 4.32 percent.

Commissioners say a millage rate higher than the rollback rate is needed to support the 2017 budget and to continue to provide badly needed services to the county’s citizens.

Charlie Tarver encouraged commissioners to invest more in the county’s future, particularly in the fire department. “We don’t have enough fire hydrants, there is a lot of turnover and Fire Station No. 3 has only two people working there,” he said. “The time to invest in our future is now.”

Hugh Stowers said some property values are not being assessed fairly and equally. “I don’t understand why you need to raise taxes next year. My taxes have already gone up. Some assessments are too low. There is a lot of money out there if you could get the tax assessors to do their job correctly.”

Weldon Sheriff said, “In my opinion, the millage rate should be rolled back. I’m here to oppose this.”

Georgia law requires three public hearings before counties can finalize the budget and set the millage rate. The next public hearings are set for August 18 at 6p.m., and August 24 at 4 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room at the Dawson County Courthouse. All concerned citizens are invited to speak.




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