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Mayor resigns city council seat
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Kimberly Boim

The Dawsonville City Council is now short by one member.

During a work session April 26, recently appointed Mayor James Grogan resigned his city council seat. His plans are to focus more attention on his responsibilities as acting mayor and the upcoming mayors election.

I didnt feel like I was doing a good service to both jobs, he said, referring to his positions as council member and as acting mayor. I thought about it and prayed about it, and made the decision. I didnt realize how far behind we are on some things, but I do know how important it is to have someone here in the office every day.

The council appointed Grogan interim mayor following the death of Mayor Joe Lane Cox on March 9. His formal letter of resignation was submitted to City Clerk Bonnie Warne on Monday, April 27.

The council is considering several candidates for Grogans seat, including 25-year-old Caleb Phillips, the nephew of former County Commissioner Tracey Phillips. Other nominations are being accepted, and a vote will take place at the next city council meeting on May 7 to fill Grogans seat. Grogan said the council welcomes applications from anyone who has lived within the city for at least one year.

In other actions taken at the work session, the council approved the first reading of variance requests made by developers of a 72-unit, affordable-housing project called Farmington Woods. TBG Residential, located in Atlanta, requested three variances, including reducing water and sewer fees from $6,000 to $3,000 per unit, and reducing parking spaces from 194 to 154.

While the city cannot do anything with water and sewer tap fees, we might be able to help with cost associated with getting water and sewer lines to their site. Quotes are being sought for the project and depending on those costs, a determination will be made on what the city can do. The developers, in turn, would help with cost on a sidewalk from their development to Hwy. 53, providing a safer way of getting to local schools, according to Grogan. Additionally, TBG requested a variance to reduce from 225 to 112 the number of trees being replaced after construction. However, that request has been tabled. The ordinance states that if a developer removes more than 75 percent of the trees on a project, a certain percentage must be replaced. TBG plans to remove less than 50 percent of the trees for the Farmington Woods project, making it unnecessary to replace trees in accordance with the city ordinance, said TBG Vice President, Michael Brandt. In other action: The council approved an agreement to run the citys July 31 special election together with the countys July 31 election as a cost-saving measure. For the November 2011 election, the Dawson County Board of Elections charged the city $8,099, minus qualifying revenues, which brought the cost down to $6,293. This Julys election is expected to cost taxpayers $2,575, minus qualifying revenues, according to City Clerk Warne. City resident Jack Forester, after withdrawing his request to de-annex his 30-acre farm from the city, has requested a special-use variance and a zoning map amendment from restricted single family residential district to restricted agricultural district. The council approved the first reading of his request. A second reading and a vote must be taken before it can receive final approval.