December 7, 2015
Tonight many of the same issues brought up at the P&Z hearing last week about the junkyard were brought up again as the BOC made their decision. No citizens spoke in favor of issuing a special use permit for a junkyard and 4 people spoke against it.
There were 2 main issues. First, getting all the fluids out of the vehicles before bringing to the site and second, not following the rules before setting up the business. Comm. Salmon asked, “What kind of plan do they have in place?” Then he answered his own question, “No plan. They put the horse before the cart.”
Comm. Luke, Salmon, and Henry voted to deny the request. Comm. Pennamon and Trammell voted to approve (by voting no).
After the vote there were questions about having the vehicles moved, etc. The commissioner’s attorney said as of today, the owner is in violation and can be cited, fined, taken to court, etc. He also said the applicant could re-apply after 1 year.
It was repeatedly said and/or alluded to during the BOC discussion that this was a code enforcement problem, just like it is right down Edwards Road. Comm. Pennamon told the County Manager that he wanted Code Enforcement looking into Paul Spieks’ property to see if it is up to code, fluids aren’t leaking, etc. (See picture below)
Noise, Stanton Springs and the JDA, and dilapidated houses were brought up by citizens.
When an entire community is complaining about noise, fights, and loud music every weekend something has to be done. The Sheriff says the noise ordinance is vague. See copy here. Two citizens asked the BOC to do something about it so the Sheriff’s Department would hopefully write citations. According to information presented, no citations have been written even though there were numerous 911 calls every weekend. The BOC did seem to be concerned.
Comm. Pennamon “explained” why JDA was selling land for 1/2 price; however, he didn’t tell the BOC that not only was the land being sold for 1/2 price (a $4.7M loss), but 1/2 the proceeds were going to the real estate broker (TPA) for no known reason. There will be a detailed blog on this bad deal for the taxpayers of all 4 counties, and why Newton County is so concerned about it.
Comm. Trammell said he knew something had to be done about old abandoned structures, and suggested looking into a “holiday” at the landfill—letting people bring in the waste to the landfill from demolished structures for free during a certain period of time. The BOC will look into it.
All alcohol licenses that had been renewed were approved. Two licenses were not submitted for renewal; they were Cora’s Bar & Grill on Hwy 142 and Bear Creek Marina. Those licenses expire 12/31/15 at midnight.
The work to remove the wood fiber at the landfill has started. Equipment is being moved in and the work has to be done within 90 days of 12/7/15. The County Manager expects EPD to extend the 12/31/15 deadline.
Before the meeting, Comm. Henry, Comm. Pennamon, and Comm. Trammell met early—they were there by 5:15pm or before—and discussed a variety of county business before the meeting. This has been going on before most every meeting. Earlier in the year, when confronted about this violation of open meetings, Comm. Trammell said we needed to “Get Real.” Guess we didn’t read that exception in the open meetings laws that said Gene Trammell and the Jasper County Commissioners are exempt from the law.
The next BOC meeting won’t be until January 11, 2016 at 5:00PM. The meeting will start an hour early to give time to present the financials for the first 6 months of FY16. No financials have been presented at all for FY16 to this point.
We will share video of this meeting and much more information on Stanton Springs in the blogs upcoming this week.
Citizens, be informed and stay informed! Only by being informed can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.