Small-lodging, short-term rental property is the hot-topic issue at commissioners’ work session

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Commissioner David Miller

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – A discussion about the land use plan that applies to small-lodging, short-term vacation rental property and variance requests dominated the discussion at the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners work session this week.

Planning Director Larry Reiter asked for clarification on the interpretation of regulations in the residential growth categories that pertain to small-lodging, short-term vacation rental property due to ambiguous wording.

Reiter said current regulations require all “non-commercial” character areas to have a minimum of two acres in order to operate a small-lodging, short-term vacation rental business. However, there are three different definitions of “small lodging” in the code.

However, in 2012, the Board of Commissioners granted a variance to the two-acre requirement with the caveat that the business not be located next to a family with children. Since then, the Planning Commission has reviewed 20 variance requests to the two-acre minimum, most of which were approved without opposition.

Commissioner Bobby Mayfield

Recently, concerned property owners in two different subdivisions have expressed opposition to the variance and the Planning Commission will hear three such requests in February. Staff is in the process of revising the land use code and has asked for direction from commissioners.

Regarding the variance requests to be heard this month, Commissioner Bob Pullen recommended sticking with the two-acre minimum requirement until the board has had time to change it.

Commissioner David Miller said he believes the two-acre minimum is reasonable. “However, I believe there must be accommodations made for specific circumstances,” Miller said. “Rather than mandate the Planning Commission to some predetermined directions from commissioners, I think we should let you guys do your work. If members of the public disagree with your decision, then they do and should have the right to appeal.”

Commissioner Bobby Mayfield said, “The two-acre requirement should be a red flag. If it’s less than two acres, then (Planning Commission) needs to take a hard look at this. If you live out in the country somewhere and nobody lives near you, and nobody objects then I can see why the Planning Commission would have granted those variances. On the other hand, if you choose to live in a community surrounded by a whole bunch of people where all your actions impact those other folks, and they don’t think it’s a good idea, then the Planning Commission should take that into consideration when it grants or doesn’t grant the variance.”

The board will take Planning Department’s requests into consideration and vote on the issue in a future meeting.

 

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/County Officials Host GMRC at Camp Merrill

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City/county officials from all across north Georgia attended the GMRC meeting at Camp Frank D. Merrill last week.

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners and the City of Dahlonega hosted the monthly meeting of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) Thursday in the dining facility at Camp Frank D. Merrill, the US Army Ranger facility.

The GMRC serves local governments of the Georgia mountains region by improving the quality of life through economic development, community planning, information technology, and workforce development to support and enhance the region’s prosperity.

Named for the famous Ranger General of World War II in the Burma Campaign, Camp Merrill is the home of the US Army’s 5th Ranger Training Battalion, where Ranger candidates receive mountain warfare training.

Lumpkin County staff and elected officials attend GMRC meeting.

Lumpkin County Commission Chairman Chris Dockery welcomed city and county officials from all across north Georgia. County Manager Stan Kelley, a former Army Ranger, Commissioners Bob Pullen, David Miller, Rhett Stringer and Bobby Mayfield attended along with Fire Chief David Wimpy and Public Works Director Larry Reiter.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Michael Hack briefed the audience on the rigorous training regimen ranger candidates undergo in order to accomplish their mission of providing logistical support, training, mobilization, deployment, supporting, sustaining and reconstituting forces.

Roseann Kent, director of the Appalachian Studies Center at the University of North Georgia, explained how the center provides students with a unique opportunity to discover the arts, history, music and nature of southern Appalachia through community engagement, service learning, undergraduate research and creative activities. The center is located on the Dahlonega campus across the street from Price Memorial Hall in the Historic Vickery House.

Lumpkin County Mayoral candidate Sam Norton (right) receives recognition during Small Business Week for his Picnic Cafe.

Dahlonega City Councilman Sam Norton, who is running for mayor in the Nov. 7 election, was given special recognition by Congressman Doug Collins’ office for during Small Business Week for the small business he started in Dahlonega called Picnic Café.

The GMRC also held a Workforce Development Board Meeting in the second floor conference room of the Lumpkin County Administrative Building in Dahlonega.

 

 

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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Sheriff Asks Commissioners for a Noise Ordinance

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Sheriff Stacy Jarrard

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard believes residents that live in the community deserve to have some type of action against unwelcome noise and he asked commissioners to consider passing a noise ordinance during Tuesday’s work session.

“I’ve been trying since 2011 to get some type of noise ordinance under way in this community,” he said.” I do not want to target any specific group such as the wedding venues but if you live close to one, 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., they ought to have to quiet down.”

Commissioner Bob Mayfield said, “Here’s the hard part. I’ve talked to a lot of folks about this at length and everybody wants everybody else to be quiet but they don’t want nobody telling them to be quiet.”

Chairman Chris Dockery said a noise ordinance is equally as important as a sign ordinance and he asked for a commissioner to volunteer to take the lead in studying the issue and each commissioner to make a list of their concerns about such an ordinance.

Jarrard submitted several noise ordinances from other counties and recommended they be used to tailor an ordinance more suitable for Lumpkin County.

“I just highly encourage that we have some type of ordinance in place for people who have problems,” he said. He suggested the ordinance “target the ones that are constant with noise that disturbs their neighbors like people who have loud parties after midnight or that barking dog that barks all night.”

Commissioner Bob Pullen agreed to take the lead on drafting an ordinance and agreed to have information back to the board of commissioners by the October meeting.

 

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