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

News

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

News

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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Sheppard, Mayfield, Turner Win Lumpkin County Races

News, Politics

DAHLONEGA, Ga. — All Lumpkin County General Primary runoff races resulted in landslide victories last night. Veteran law enforcement officer Jim Sheppard coasted to victory in the coroner’s race, beating challenger Amanda Jones-Holbrooks 1,704 to 462. Bobby Mayfield defeated incumbent District 2 Commissioner Steve Shaw 1,596 to 549 and longtime educator Mera Turner beat Catherine Ariemma 1,597 to 719 to win the vacant school board seat.

After his resounding win, Sheppard said, “I’m honored the Lumpkin County citizens have elected me to represent them as their next coroner. The campaign has been a humbling experience, one filled with new friendships and discovery. As your Lumpkin County Coroner, I’ll work hard daily to maintain the honor and integrity that you expect of me. Thank you for my supporters who never gave up, especially my wife Rhonda and my daughter Anna who were with me each and every day of the campaign.”

Jones-Holbrooks was plagued by personal and legal problems. After winning the General Primary last May, she was arrested and charged with first-degree forgery, a felony one week before the early voting began. Lumpkin County authorities are also investigating a complaint of theft by deception leveled against her by her ex-husband.

After two terms on the Board of Commissioners, Shaw suffered the same fate as many incumbents across the state and nation in his loss to Mayfield, who captured 74.4 percent of the vote.

Turner, who captured 68.9 percent of the vote en route to winning a seat on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners, said, “I am looking forward to serving on the Board of Education now that voters have selected me to see that Lumpkin County continues to provide a quality education for all students. I appreciate all that helped me achieve this position.”

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Mayfield, Sheppard, Turner Win Runoff Elections

News

In Tuesday’s General Primary runoff races, Bobby Mayfield defeated incumbent District 2 County Commissioner Steve Shaw 1,596 to 549. Jim Sheppard captured the coroner’s race, beating Amanda Jones-Holbrooks 1,704 to 462 and Mera Turner was elected to the school board, besting Catherine Ariemma 1,597 to 719. All results are unofficial until certified by the Lumpkin County Elections Office on Friday.

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Runoff Races Front and Center in Dawson, Lumpkin today

News, Politics

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Georgians will head back to the polls today to decide key races, including several in Dawson and Lumpkin counties.

In Dawson County, voters will vote in a new sheriff and tax commissioner.

The sheriff candidates are veteran law enforcement officers Captain Tony Wooten and Major Jeff Johnson. Nicole Stewart and Andi Henson Juliette are competing for the tax commissioner job.

In Lumpkin County, voters will choose who they want to represent them on the county commission in District 2 and in the coroner’s office. Steve Shaw is the incumbent Dist. 2 commissioner and Bobby Mayfield is the challenger.

The candidates for coroner are Amanda Jones-Holbrooks and Jim Sheppard. Jones-Holbrooks was arrested earlier this month on a felony charge of first-degree forgery and is awaiting trial. Sheppard is a veteran law enforcement officer who will resign at the end of this year after 28 years of service.

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Early Voting for Primary Runoffs Ends Friday

News, Politics

LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. — Early voting will end Friday for the July 26 general election primary runoffs, which include two key races in Lumpkin County — county commission and coroner.

The coroner’s race has drawn particular interest due to the arrest of one of the candidates. Amanda Jones-Holbrooks was arrested earlier this month and charged with first-degree forgery, a felony. If convicted of a felony, she would not be eligible to hold public office even if she wins the election. Sources also say she is also under investigation for theft by deception.

Her opponent is Jim Sheppard, a veteran law enforcement office who is retiring this year after 28 years of service.

The county commission race is between incumbent Steve Shaw and challenger Bobby Mayfield. Mayfield was the top vote getter in the District 2 race with 1,511 votes to Shaw’s 1,187.
Early voting started July 5.

The Lumpkin County Elections Office reports 919 votes were cast in-person and 82 absentee ballots have been returned since July 5.

Georgia law requires a runoff if no candidate wins a majority in a general primary.

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Voters Elect Dockery to Second Term as Chairman

News, Politics

LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. — Chairman Chris Dockery was re-elected to a second term on the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

The Army veteran received 2,089 votes to defeat District 1 Commissioner Doug Sherrill who had 1,692 votes.

Dockery said the one thing he most wants to accomplish in his second term is to build a better relationship between the city and county. “That is important,” he said. “What we do as a county impacts the city and what the city does impacts us. So, we have to work together.”

Dockery is a business owner who has held many leadership roles in civilian and military life.

“I’ve commanded troops in peace time and in war time overseas,” he said. “That experience prepared me. There is nothing like leading men when their lives are on the line. I’ve also held leadership positions here in the county. I chaired the Development Authority for several years and served as Vice Chair of the Water Authority.”

David Miller beat Bill Scott 2,150 to 1,430 to win the District 1 County Commission seat.

All other local races will have to be contested in the June 26 runoff.

Bobby Mayfield, who had 1,511 votes in Tuesday’s County Commission District 2 race, will run against Steve Shaw who had 1,187.

Long time teacher Mera Turner and Catherine Ariemma will also meet in next month’s runoff. Turner had 1,668 votes to Ariemma’s 1,152.

Amanda Jones won the closest race of the day beating Jim Sheppard by just 18 votes. Jones had 1,262 votes to Sheppard’s 1,244. Incumbent coroner Ronald Fortner finished a distant third with 1,014 and Diane Kimmel had 246. Jones and Sheppard are headed for the runoff.

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Lumpkin County Republican Party Forum Commission Post 1 & 2

Politics
Daivd Miller

Post 1 Commission Candidate David Miller

Steve Shaw

Post 2 Commission Candidate Steve Shaw

Bobby Mayfield

Post 2 Commission Candidate Bobby Mayfield

Carlton Smith

Post 2 Commission Candidate Carlton Smith

DJ Wright

Post 2 Commission Candidate DJ Wright

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