April 22, 2018

 The hearing concerning the Tournament Lake on Hwy 212 W  revealed some interesting facts. 


 Did you know that this “pay lake” has been registered as an LLC and operates as 212 Lakes LLC, Melanie Neal, Registered Agent, since 9/5/17?  This property was purchased by Ashley and James Ray on 7/11/17.

Did you know that 4,900 pounds of salt was put into the “pay lake” along with 21,000 pounds of carp in January 2018?

 Did you know that a tournament lake is not allowed in conservation?  It appears that the Ray’s want the tournament lake designation added to the use table in Agriculture zoning so they don’t have to pay a $13,000+  penalty for breaching the conservation covenant.  Doing all they have done already apparently does not constitute a breach of conservation.

Did you know that the carp put in the shared pond are not sterile?  Before the meeting Shane Sealy had told some citizens as well as one or two P&Z board members that the carp were sterile.  However, during the meeting James Ray (who spoke for the tournament lake), said the carp were not sterile when asked about it directly.  The P&Z board seemed to be shocked with the revelation since carp are an invasive fish.

Did you know that Pope’s Creek, a major source of water for the City of Monticello, flows through this pond?

Even though she was the applicant, Melanie Neal did not speak.  James Ray did and gave some details about the proposed “carp tournament.”  The carp tournament will be every Saturday and/or Sunday from 7am-7pm.  There will be no PA system and no night fishing.  Customers will pay per set of 3 poles, pick a spot around lake, and fish for 12 hours.  He said his profit is 20%. 

Mary Alice Carter, Chair of the JCWSA, spoke and said she was very concerned about water conservation, water use, sedimentation, erosion, etc.  She said since Pope’s Creek flows through the pond, a Pond Management Plan will have to be approved by a certified person and that plan must include an erosion and sedimentation policy. 

The owner of the shared pond, Cindy Bryant, told the P&Z that the Ray’s/Neal’s had raised the water levels so high to accommodate all the carp, that she now has carp in her pond because when it rains the shared pond  overflows into her pond. She said the dyke overflows when it rains.  She also said the carp were 15-20 pounds and she did not want them in her pond.

The P&Z Board was questioned about the definition of a tournament lake.  Even though a text amendment was advertised, there was no text amendment available and therefore no definition of a tournament lake. 

Questions that were asked included:

  1. Will the noise ordinance be in effect?
  2. How many people at a time can be there?
  3. What kind of facilities have to be available for sanitation?
  4. What hours would there be for operation?
  5. Is there going to be a minimum lake size?
  6. How can you do something like this in a pond that you do not entirely own? The shared owner does not want it, so how does this work?

Board member, Lee Holman, brought up the fact that whatever decision was made will affect entire county, not just this one lake/pond.  (Note: James Ray said this pond was 4.23 acres; however, Mr. Sealy later looked at a satellite view and determined it was approximately 2.53 acres.) 

A motion was made to deny the text amendment and inclusion of a tournament lake into the table of uses.  It was seconded and the vote was 5-Ø to deny.

The P&Z Board realized they could not come up with a definition that night and agreed they needed someone with more expertise to help.  A work session will be planned for the 4th Thursday in May that may also include “special events” according to the discussion.

It was brought up that there was night fishing being done presently on the Hwy 212 shared pond, and James Ray said it was “for his friends and family” and they could do that on his own property. (Remember this is a pay lake.)  Sounds like Bennett Cove, doesn’t it?  Mr. Bennett said he wasn’t charging for weddings, parties, etc. and therefore he could do what he wanted on his property

 Neighbors don’t seem to count when it comes to Code or Zoning enforcement. 


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.



This entry was posted in Code Enforcement, County, Planning & Zoning, Water and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. James Roy Kelly says:

    As far as Bennett Cove is concerned, all you need to do if you have access to a computer, is to Google “Bennett Cove, Monticello, Ga” and you will find that they do in fact advertise charges for weddings, corporate outings and other events yet they get away with not paying the fees and taxes for operating such a commercial venture or having it zoned for such use. It is currently zoned A4 Agricultural. I don’t understand how he can get away with this year after year while our governing bodies look the other way.

    • taxdogs says:

      You are exactly right! You know how the saying goes, “follow the money.”

    • Watching with despair says:

      In this county, if you rub elbows with, or bank accounts with officials, you can do whatever you want. It’s apparent that Jasper County has developed a reputation for allowing certain folks to break the law (blatantly) for as long as they like. Then they jack up the taxes on their law abiding citizens to pay for their bad financial decisions, while looking away when code violations like this are reported over and over.

      • taxdogs says:

        Based on the new property assessments everyone’s taxes are to be going up again this year.

      • James Roy Kelly says:

        Property Tax assessments on “small” tracts seem to be increasing substantially again this year. Mine certainly has after I appealed my valuation lees than a year ago. I plan to appeal again this year and recommend others do the same if you think your valuation is unfair.

    • Economic development is a joke says:

      They always talk about economic development in this county. But when someone starts a business around here 9 out of 10 times it’s illegal or not properly zoned. These people should be forced to follow the codes and laws of the county and state. A legally run business would impact the economic development of the county. Looking the other way is bad for all citizens and tax payers.

  2. Jamie finnell says:

    I bet most people complaining has never seen the bait we use. Plus is oblivious to the purpose of the salt being added to the lake. The salt is a natural mineral to heal sores or bad spot on all fish not just carp. If you have ever caught a fish after or during spawn they will have sores on them and the salt is basically a medicine to help heal all sores.

    • Tammy says:

      The issue isn’t bait, or salt. It’s the fact that your neighbor, that has a lake that shares water with your doesn’t want your fish in her lake. That the city’s water supply runs through your lake, which is now overly stocked with an invasive fish. That you’re running a “pay lake” without proper zoning and license. That you’re blatantly just doing whatever you want to without even caring about any of the above.

  3. The Dangers of Carp says:

    They’ll eat pretty much anything,” said lead author Marion Wittmann of the University of Notre Dame. “I think of them as like sheep or goats; they’ll come in and munch what’s in front of them.”
    That bodes ill for wetland vegetation that provides spawning grounds and habitat for young fish, Wittmann said. Largemouth bass and bluegill are among species that have fared poorly in places infested with grass carp. Ducks and other waterfowl that nest in wetlands also could be vulnerable.

  4. Tim Cleveland says:

    Did you know that this will keep kids off drugs? Did you know that this was replaced by video games? Did you know that this is private property? Did you know that this is good clean fun?

    • taxdogs says:

      Did you know this is ruining the neighbors lake? Did you know that this is a violation of the zoning laws in Jasper County?

    • You don’t know says:

      Did you know that these illegal pay fishing lakes can taint the water supply for the entire city of Monticello.

      Did you know that the Georgia EPD has rules and laws to safeguard the watershed from illegal activity.

      Did you know it’s a felony to introduce toxins in the public water supply.

      Did you know that private property has nothing to do with it. It’s against the law to not follow the codes of the county

      Did you know that that land is enrolled in conservation use with the county. And that by having a illegal pay fishing lake breaks the covenant and now the owner is responsible for all the taxes that were reduced on this property.

      I don’t think you have a clue

  5. Drug Test Them All says:

    It seems like Jasper County government is stuck on stupid or is it something else?
    Perhaps drug testing every person involved with the administration of Jasper County government, starting with the Planning and Zoning Department and ending with Board of Commissioners is in order.
    In the process of discovering the source of a problem one has to eliminate what it ain’t before “what it is “can be discerned. If it ain’t stupid, then it could be the drugs.
    It is certainly a step in the right direction.

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