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BOC eyes more funding for new public health building
Health department SPLOST 7
The current Dawson County Health Department building sits at 54 Ga. 53 in downtown Dawsonville. - photo by Julia Hansen

Formative steps are being taken toward another SPLOST VII project, thanks to a recent vote from the Dawson County Board of Commissioners. 

During their April 21 voting session, the commissioners approved sending the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission a letter to help the county apply for a $1 million grant and any other applicable funding. 

Previously, the county included $2.5 million for a new health department building as part of its projects for SPLOST VII, which Dawson County voters approved in 2021. BOC Chairman Billy Thurmond said he and County Manager David Headley have been looking at ways to increase that dollar amount, recently meeting with a GMRC official to discuss such opportunities.

There’s a chance for the county to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the same kind of funding as the $750,000 awarded for construction of the senior center at Veterans Memorial Park. 

“Now, that [grant amount] has been moved up to $1 million,” said Thurmond, “so there’s an opportunity for us to put in for an additional million dollars to get all the things we need necessarily for the health department.” 

The county has also been working with state legislators, like Rep. Will Wade, to acquire more monies through the budget process, and the health department is filling out an application for other state funding, too.

It will only cost about $1,000 to get GMRC to help with the details of the grant application process, which can be complicated, Thurmond said. 

“Any kind of help we can get is awesome,” he added. 

Family density exception

The BOC also voted 4-0 to approve the family density or “land gifting” exception originally presented at their March 3 meeting. 

This provision will allow for the creation of no more than five lots, including the parent tract, for intra-family ownership transfer. 

The measure will require minimum lot dimensions of 1.5 acres per current septic rules, and building permits could only be issued to the grantee family member. 

Commissioners will now be able to approve family density exceptions without needing to hold public hearings. 

“That makes me feel a lot more comfortable about this whole thing,” said District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines. 

District 1 Commissioner Sharon Fausett said this step will “help reduce spot zonings.”

“That’s the purpose of it, not for somebody to cut it out and be able to speculate on it in five years,” District 4 Commissioner Emory Dooley said. “It’s just for the family to be able to do what they need to do.”