August 10, 2018

If you think developers and new businesses should have special rules over and above the citizens that live in Jasper County and that support the county with their taxes, this blog is not for you.

John Snow, the developer for the Peninsula at Jackson Lake, tried his best to convince the BOC to bypass the P&Z Board and the County ordinances concerning the acceptance of final plats for subdivisions at the BOC meeting Monday, August 6, 2018.

First, Snow explained he wanted to put up a $3.45 million bond instead of actually completing roads, putting in water lines, putting in the access lane, etc.  The reason—so they could go ahead and sell lots within the next couple of months. Of course, he added “it would bring in tax revenue to the county quicker.”  (How would that be, since it is already being taxed as land now?)  Of note—the paving of Eagle Dr. was not listed as part of the bond items.

History, especially 2006-2008, shows us this is how bad developments come about. Counties let developers get by without following the ordinances or rely on the developer’s promises rather than actual completion of the project.

David Ozburn, the county attorney, explained that it was not in the ordinance to accept a bond in lieu of actual improvements to the property, and all requirements must be approved by the P&Z Board and the BOC before the final plat was approved.  Unfortunately, he also added several maybe’s, could be’s, perhaps’, and other wishy-washy, confusing terms.  

Instead of just saying, “Hey, sorry, but our ordinance says all improvements have to be in place, and a bond can’t take the place of the actual improvements,” there was 28 minutes of discussion on something that should have taken 5 minutes.

Comm. Don Jernigan, who represents the area where the Peninsula at Jackson Lake is located, wanted this bond to be approved.  It was almost like Jernigan had talking points given to him by the developers so they could answer the right way and show the other commissioners how good they were.

How cozy is Comm. Jernigan with the developers? It is rumored that Jernigan had been wined and dined by the developers previously.  He has certainly pushed this development from the very beginning, and has been willing to give them plenty of concessions.

The ordinance in place protects the county and the citizens of the county by making developers do what they said they would do.  Comm. Salmon brought up having the P&Z Board change the ordinance to allow a bond.  Why?  Why is this BOC so ready and willing to help a developer bypass our county rules that are in place?  If things don’t go well, will a bond really cover the entire cost of finishing up a subdivision?  More than likely the taxpayers will help foot part of the bill.

Despite all the concerns laid out by the attorney, Comm. Jernigan was determined to get the bond approved by the BOC.  He made the motion to accept the bond.

Comm. Jernigan eventually had to withdraw his motion for lack of a second.  Additionally, Comm. Pennamon repeatedly, during the 28 minute discussion, questioned doing anything before the P&Z approved the final plat.

Comm. Salmon made a motion to table this issue because he wanted the P&Z to change the ordinance first.  Comm. Henry 2nd the motion.  The vote was 4-1 with Comm. Luke against.  Luke said, “I voted against the motion because we need to follow procedure we have in place and not try to rush it or change it.” 



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.

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  1. Just wondering says:

    During the public hearing, it was made clear that the subdivision road was to be a private road. The developer agreed that the road maintenance was the HOA’s responsibility.

    Now I wonder if the bond suggestion is a way around this.

  2. hhmmm... says:

    seems like i recall a couple years ago, the county tore up the Pintail entrance to Turtle Cove and called it “resurfacing”. we were told at the time that it cost almost $1 million to mess this road up.
    the developer wants to put up a $3.5 million dollar bond to complete the required grading, storm drainage, turn lane installation, subdivision road paving, water and power installation etc…? either the county isnt nearly as efficient at this kind of work as they should be, or the developer has no intention of completing this work. it sure doesnt look good for Don to be cozying up to these guys.

  3. No more variances or changes says:

    By allowing a bond, it shifts the responsibility from the developer to the county.

    The county already struggles with keeping the roads maintained; they do not need to take on extra responsibilities of grading, storm drainage, turn lane installation, subdivision road paving, water and power installation etc. This work will need to be contracted and it the responsibility of the developer.

    Providing a bond to circumvent requirement for final plat approval was not part of the deal when the developer came before the boards.

    Do not let yourselves be bamboozled.

  4. Take the bull by the horn says:

    I am glad the commissioners did not just agree to the developer’s plan to circumvent the county ordinances; however, they did not tell the developer “no” instead kicked the can down the road.

    This will give the developer some more time to try to persuade another commissioner or two.

    The developer knows exactly what is required, but continues to try to find ways around some of the annoying ordinances.

    I hope the commissioners remember what promises were made and what was said during the public meetings almost one year ago and tell the developer to stick to the ordinances. Period.

    No more variances or exceptions.

    • taxdogs says:

      This developer was allowed to circumvent the conservation subdivision ordinance for a standard subdivision. Now he wants something else different. Unfortunately Jernigan was more than willing to not only give it to him but push it for him.

  5. exasperated says:

    Follow the rules that are in place like THE REST OF US have to do, well most of us anyway.

  6. Jasper Cou says:

    Check his bank account. Just joking…really.

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