Dawsonville City Council members have voted to indefinitely postpone voting on a request to annex nearly 75 acres of land into the city limits.
On Tuesday night, Jan. 19, the city was set to hold a public hearing in reference to the annexation, which has been put forward by Allen Street Properties LLC and B&K Turner Family LLP, and would allow for the nearly 75 acres to be annexed into the city and to be rezoned as residential property for residential construction.
At the meeting, Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason explained to council members that Dawson County has placed the annexation in arbitration and that a panel put together by the Department of Community Affairs will be arbitrating the matter.
Due to the arbitration, city officials are unable to vote on the matter until it is resolved, Eason said. He recommended tabling the request until the city receives results from the arbitration board.
“It’s my suggestion that we hear the people that wish to speak tonight; we need to consider tabling it until such time that we get results from the Department of Community Affairs arbitration board,” Eason said. “We will put it on the table and we won’t set a date since we don’t know how long this will take.”
The owners of the property were in attendance at the meeting to speak in favor of the annexation, and three community members were present to speak against it. Upon the council’s vote to table the issue, both sides decided to hold their comments until the next public hearing on the matter.
Eason said that once the arbitration process is over the council will hold another public hearing to hear input from both sides of the issue before officially voting on the matter.
“We will not forget there is a public hearing to be held on this matter once the arbitration is over and we will certainly allow you to give your comments to us at that time,” Eason said to those who had attended the meeting planning to address the council. “We wanna hear from you.”
Board of health seat filled
Council members also voted at the meeting to appoint a new city representative to the Dawson County Board of Health.
The city’s seat on the board of health was previously held by State Rep. Will Wade, who stepped down from the board following his election to the Georgia House of Representatives.
Dr. Lawrence Kulish was nominated to fill the vacant public health board seat.
“Dr. Kulish is an employee of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center which I think is a good balance cause the chairman of the board is Dr. Larry Anderson who is a member of Northside Forsyth,” Eason said. “So our two major medical providers will have a seat at the table for the Dawson County Board of Health.”
Council members unanimously approved Kulish’s appointment to the position.
Rental rates discussed
Council members discussed the lease rates for city-owned properties, which include the Moonshine Distillery and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. The council had previously discussed the idea of raising the two businesses’ lease rates following a study conducted by members of the city government aimed at finding out what the average rent is for businesses in Dawson County.
The main object of discussion was whether to raise the Racing Hall of Fame’s rate to help the city hire a contractor to provide needed services to the museum. The fee for the contractor would be paid for by the city and offset by a rent increase for the museum as well as a percentage of the museum’s revenue.
“City Clerk Beverly Banister and I sit on that [the Hall of Fame] board, and we discussed with them the possibility of a contractor to provide services to the museum that we would pay for, and we discussed with them increasing the rent from $100 to $500 a month and working on a percentage of the revenue from the museum to offset that,” Eason said.
Council member Mark French made a motion to leave both leases at the same rate, but Caleb Phillips recommended to his fellow council members that they table the decision on the Racing Hall of Fame lease for 2021 until they can discuss it further with the museum board.
“I wanna make sure that can still happen, so I would still like to make sure we can get the contractor lined up to help the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame,” Phillips said. “I just don’t wanna leave something the same and that not allow us to hire a contractor to help the Racing Hall of Fame.”
French amended his motion to hold off on the decision about the museum’s lease rate for 2021 until the matter can be discussed further with the museum board.
The council voted unanimously to table any action taken on the Racing Hall of Fame until the next regularly scheduled council meeting, and to leave the Moonshine Distillery lease at its current rate for 2021.
The city council members also unanimously approved an alcohol permit for the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame for Feb. 1, when the organization will be holding a grand opening for its new Chase Elliott exhibit.