White County commissioners grapple with short-term rental issues during Tuesday’s called meeting

News

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Short-term rentals have become a booming industry, forecast to reach $23 billion in the U.S. by 2022.  The rise in popularity has left governments struggling with how to regulate rentals, rental operators and neighborhood activists.

White County commissioners spent one hour in a special called meeting Tuesday morning, wrestling with what is a much more complex issue than it may seem on the surface. County staff is charged with drafting regulations for short-term rentals. Tuesday’s meeting was called so commissioners could provide some direction.

Commission Chairman Travis Turner expressed the difficulty of regulating short-term rentals, saying, “I’ve gone from one extreme to another trying to find a common-sense middle ground.”

On the one hand, those who would like to rent rooms in their home on a short-term basis argue they have a right to use their property as they see fit. On the other, their neighbors counter that kind of activity can affect security in the neighborhood as well as property values.

Commissioner Edwin Nix said, “I’ve probably put more thought into this than anything since we started land use. It is our responsibility and the citizens of this county are looking to us to protect their interests. One thing I would want if I lived in a subdivision is to know who my neighbor was each night. This commissioner would almost vote not to allow this in a subdivision. Period.”

Nix advised staff to pay attention to health issues in drafting regulations. “You’ve got health issues when drafting criteria,” he said “Are (rentals) on public water? Are they on well water? Is the sewage system designed to handle what they are doing?”

There are also licensing issues, insurance issues, parking issues and zoning issues to be addressed.

County Manager Michael Melton said, “What we need to know from the Board is do you want this regulated under land use or do you want it regulated under a permit system?”

Commissioner Terry Goodger pointed out that Hall County and the City of Savannah are struggling with the same issues and they have left it under land use.

Board voted unanimously to have staff draft a stand-alone ordinance and present it to the Board in two weeks for review.

 

 

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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Kemp Bus Tour stops at Truett McConnell Tuesday

News, Politics

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp’s “Road to Victory” bus tour visited the campus of Truett McConnell University, a Christian liberal arts and sciences school in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains, Tuesday morning.

Following morning chapel service led by Anthony George, senior associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, in the beautiful George Blaurock Student Wellness Center, Kemp briefly addressed students and staff and delivered a message of faith and hope.

The Republican candidate for governor said, “I know God has a plan for our family and I’m just here living It out. We’re going to know shortly what that plan is and we’re trusting in the Lord every single day. That is giving me a lot of peace in my heart. Its people of faith – in a lot of ways – this campaign is about.”

Kemp said he was encouraged to see how many young people are interested in the campaign.

“I’m optimistic that we see a lot of young people all over our state that are interested in who their leaders are going to be. They want good government. They want to have good opportunities and that’s why I’m running, so my kids and you all and your kids, one day, will have all the same opportunities that I have had.”

Many government heavy-hitters at both the state and local level were on hand to show their support for Kemp, who will face Democrat Stacey Abrams and Libertarian Ted Metz in next Tuesday’s election.

Governor Nathan Deal told attendees he is aware that politics has a bad rap but he said, “The truth of the matter is our great nation is based on the idea we are not just a democracy. We are a republic in which people have the right to elect their leaders. If those leaders do not reflect the moral values that our nation should have, our nation will not remain strong.”

Other leaders who visited with Kemp included, Congressman Doug Collins, State Senator Steve Gooch and White County commissioners Travis Turner, Terry Goodger and Edwin Nix.

 

 

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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Nix will return to Board of Commissioners, Holcomb faces two challengers

Election 2018

Commissioner Edwin Nix

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Qualifying ended at noon today. The field is now set for the May 22 General Primary election.

District 2 County Commissioner Lyn Holcomb will have to defeat Mike Boswell, who lists his occupation as wastewater operator, and Ricky Farmer, the owner of a pet crematory, to serve another term on the Board of Commissioners.

District 3 Commissioner Edwin Nix, however, is unopposed and will return to the Board in January.

Charlie Bryson, a fire investigator, is the incumbent Board of Education member from District 2. Carly Adam, an administrative assistant, and John Solmon will challenge for that seat.

For a time, it appeared as though there would be no candidates in the District 4 Board of Education race, but on the final day of qualifying, two candidates stepped forward. Jeannette Gearing, a substitute teacher, and Linda Erbele, a freelance writer, qualified.

The state level race has incumbent District 9 State Representative Kevin Tanner (R) of Dawsonville pitted against Mark Hajduk (R) of Cumming.

 

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

Charlie Bryson

 

Carly Adam

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Commissioners update county land use map

News

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Following a public hearing Monday, White County commissioners approved an update to the official land use map during a combined called meeting and work session.

The map update does not make any additional changes, but merely incorporates all land use actions taken by commissioners since the map was last updated in December 2015.

Habersham County Commission Chairman Victor Anderson attended the meeting to read a proclamation honoring Habersham’s 2018 bicentennial and declaring Habersham’s adjacent counties as “honorary Habersham countians.”

With the rise in popularity of tiny houses (under 400 square feet), commissioners have questioned whether a modification of the county’s housing regulations would be in order. Community and  Economic Development Director John Sell reported that the regulations already cover single-wide mobile homes (320 square feet) and that no changes would be necessary.

Commissioner Edwin Nix expressed concern about the impact of property values on neighboring homes should an applicant decide to build a tiny home in a neighborhood of more expensive homes.

Sell explained that homes under 400 square feet would only be allowed in “permanent campground settings.”

Later, Sell was appointed to replace Tom O’Bryant on the Joint Development Authority of White, Lumpkin and Dawson counties. O’Bryant left White County government to become Cleveland city manager.  Cheyenne Thornton was appointed to serve on the county’s Department of Family and Children Services board.

Commissioners unanimously approved renewal of the joint use agreement with the Board of Education to share the school’s recreational facilities and a corrected resolution setting qualifying fees for county commission candidates at $360 rather than the $497.64 that had been previously approved.

Commissioners also agreed to provide correspondence to the city of Cleveland regarding water and sewer service to Freudenberg, the community’s largest employer.

 

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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Commissioners Borrow from Fund Balance to Erase a $1.06 Million Budget Shortfall

News

Commissioner Edwin Nix

CLEVELAND, Ga. – Shocked by a tax digest that produced only slightly more revenue than it did a year ago and faced with a budget shortfall of $1.06 million, the White County Board of Commissioners elected to keep the millage rate at 9.998 mils, essentially kicking the can down the road for another year when another shortfall is likely.

Keeping the millage rate the same will require three public hearings and commissioners voted to hold two hearings on August 3, one at 8 a.m., the other at 6 pm. The third hearing is set for Aug. 14 at 4:30 p.m.

Commissioner Terry Goodger

The vote to leave the millage rate unchanged was 3-2 with Commissioners Lyn Holcomb, Edwin Nix and Craig Bryant in support and Chairman Travis Turner and Commissioner Terry Goodger opposed.

Goodger proposed a one mil increase but that died for the lack of a second. He then proposed a half-mil increase that was seconded by Turner, but failed to attract the three votes necessary for passage.

Surprised by the fact that the current digest produced only $8,700,101, or approximately $65,000 more than last year, Nix asked County Manager Michael Melton, “On the net digest increase, that is a numerical mistake isn’t it?”

Melton assured him the figure was correct.

To erase the shortfall, commissioners will pull about $1.065 out of the county’s fund balance, leaving only enough to operate the county for 2.3 months in case of an emergency. The Association County Commissioners of Georgia recommends that counties keep enough money in the fund balance to operate the county for three months.

“I’m not comfortable with a 2.3 month balance myself,” Goodger said. “That could affect our bond rating in the long term. We are certainly much stronger with a three-month reserve.” If the bond rating is downgraded, it will mean paying a higher interest rate to finance capital projects.

Turner agreed with Goodger. “We’ve always tried to keep a three-month reserve. We need to do our best to get back to that…2.3 months is a little too skinny for my taste.”

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.co

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