Business As Usual

Community, News

Business as usual was conducted at the August 17, 2017, special called meeting of the Blue Ridge City Council. Despite the turmoil and protesters present, many items on the agenda were discussed and voted upon.

A key piece discussed was the leasing of the Pack property for possible extra parking to accommodate the downtown area. Owner’s of the Pack property are now asking the city to pay a rental fee of $2000 a month, as previously discussed, and for the city to pay property taxes on the land as well as adding the current owners of the property to the city’s liability insurance.

Before proceeding with discussion of the Pack property leasing, Council member Rhonda Thomas excused herself from further voting on the issue stating that she felt the development would “increase the value of my property.”

Council Member Rhonda Thomas discusses alternative parking solution.

Mayor Donna Whitener voiced serious concerns of proceeding with any work on the property without looking into proper permitting first. Council member Angie Arp brought up the fact that a land disturbance permit is not required if the work being done is on one acre or less.

Thomas suggested the possibility of just leasing an acre of the property, but Council member Bruce Pack stated that he had already spoken with the owners about this and it would have to be “all or nothing.”

This discussion brought about the proposal of a parking garage that had previously been considered.  The parking garage would be located near City Hall and potentially add 350 additional parking spaces, with 110 of those spaces being on the ground level.

Whitener felt that both options should be looked into further and urged council members to do their due diligence, check into permitting, and look for possible grants to help fund the projects.
Storm drains were also a topic of debate, specifically beginning with an area located near free parking along East Main Street. Funding for the storm drainage improvements could come from a number of areas including the recent sell of the marina which would give the city $400,000 by the end of this year.

Whitener also suggested looking into an Appalachian Regional Commission Economic Development Grant. These grants provide assistance with critical infrastructure and could possibly fund an additional $750,000.

Council members also unanimously approved the appointees for the positions of Poll Managers to handle the upcoming city elections. The Poll Manager will be Barbie Gerald and Assistant Poll Managers will be Rebecca Harkins and Gina Quinton.

Many of the items, such as the Pack property leasing, will be further discussed at the Council’s regularly scheduled September meeting to be held Tuesday, September 12th, at 6:00 P.M.

Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

August 1, 2017 Special Called Council Meeting at 11:00 a.m.

Legal Notice

480 West First Street • Blue Ridge, Georgia • (706) 632-209

*Meeting Called By: Posted July 28, 2017
Council Members Angie Arp and Bruce Pack

Special Called Council Meeting
August 1, 2017
11:00 a.m.
480 West First Street
A G E N D A

1) Call Meeting to Order
2) Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance
3) Council Meeting Rules of Procedures (to be presented at each meeting by the City Clerk)
4) Parking Ordinance Amendment (First Reading)
5) Approval of Paving Bid / City Streets
6) Pack Property Lease and Parking
7) Storm Drains
8) City Parks
9) Adjournment

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