For a second time, Jasper’s planning commission denied a request by Trust Company of Kansas to have over 30 acres surrounding Green Valley Farm Road along Hwy. 515 re-zoned from residential to general commercial. The city council will hear the recommendation at their February 6th meeting before making a final decision.
The property came under fire about the possible rezoning because, although it sits along the county’s main highway, it surrounds a residential area that saw its first homes constructed more than 25 years ago. After being denied the zoning change in 2010 when council members brought up concerns that restrictions and covenants already in place on the property would preclude the change to commercial zoning, representatives for Trust Company of Kansas took the issue to court where a judge ruled the covenants were not applicable to their property.
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If proposed cuts at the state level are fully instituted, the Burnt Mountain Center in Jasper, which provides work training to adults with developmental disabilities, would “dwindle away over the next couple of years,” according to statements from the center director Tuesday.
Executive Director Debbie Rooker said that up to $270,000 of the center’s $900,000 yearly revenue coming from the state Medicaid program could be cut under current state budget proposals.
“The new budget will rip us apart,” she said. “There is no way we can provide services.”
Rooker said if the state’s new funding model is enacted, the Burnt Mountain Center would eventually have to close the doors on its 39-year-old program, located on Pioneer Road. She estimated that would not happen at once, but by two years out, “we would dwindle away.”
The Burnt Mountain Center, which has served the mentally handicapped of north Georgia since 1973, is not alone on the chopping block.
•When the courthouse is completed, it will be 50,000 sq. ft. larger than the original courthouse, which was 16,000 sq. ft. total.
•Approx. 13 parking spaces will be lost in the downtown area due to construction and reworking of the streetscape, but it is estimated between 120 to 130 spaces will be added in the new parking area behind the Piggly Wiggly.
•According to Commissioner Robert Jones, a portion of the property the county purchased beside Pioneer Road may be used for a judicial center in the future.
•Demolition of the rear leg of the courthouse will begin this week.
Following a presentation from Pickens County Commissioner Robert Jones, the Jasper City Council approved closure of a portion of Depot Street that will be used as a staging area during renovations on the courthouse.
Jones, speaking at the regular Jasper Council meeting held Jan. 18, offered a general overview on progress of the SPLOST-funded courthouse project, detailed the county’s proposed traffic flow changes around the courthouse and requested the council close Court Street and a portion of Depot Street, the roads that run parallel to one another on either side of the courthouse.
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Two enter race for District 1 Commission Post – Bart Connelly (pictured left) and Charlie Chastain (pictured right) announced this week that they will be running for west end commissioner later this year. Find our more about each candidate in this week’s paper. Pages 4A and 5A.
Amelia McIntyre named Citizen of the Year – Longtime advocate of the arts accepted the Citizen of the Year award at this Pickens County Chamber of Commerce Winter Ball over the weekend. Read about McIntyre and her service to the community on Page 1A.
What do children and families here need? – Pickens County Family Connection will conduct a community forum to identify the conditions in the community that affect families in the area. This information will be used to create a long range plan for development. Find out when and where on Page 8A.
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Georgia, January 23- Average retail gasoline prices in Georgia have risen 4.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.41/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 0.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.34/g, according to gasoline price website GeorgiaGasPrices.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Georgia during the past week, prices yesterday were 40.4 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 30.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 11.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 25.3 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
"We saw oil prices fall gently late last week as tensions with Iran seemingly have cooled somewhat," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "I'm certainly hopeful that the recent easing in tensions between Iran and the West continues in coming months, but there are certainly no guarantees and few expectations of such. Having said that, I expect gasoline prices to move very little in the next week, and in some areas of the U.S. gasoline prices may fall this week," DeHaan said.
GasBuddy operates GeorgiaGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.