Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor@pikecountytimes.com
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015 – 6:30 p.m.
Courthouse Annex, 79 Jackson Street, Zebulon, Georgia

All 5 commissioners are present, County Clerk Jo Ann Wrye to take the minutes, CM Hanson, and County Attorney Rob Morton. Extra chairs were brought into the meeting and it was still standing room only.

1. CALL TO ORDER....................................................................................Chairman J. Briar Johnson

2. INVOCATION……………………………………………………………………………Ben Maxedon

3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE...................................................................Chairman J. Briar Johnson

4. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA - (O.C.G A. § 50-14-1 (e) (1))

CM Hanson asked to add an item concerning pecan tree removal on the square to New Business.

5. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES - (O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e) (2))

a. Minutes of the June 10, 2015 Regular Monthly Meeting.



a. Monthly Reports submitted from County Departments and County Authorities, including a Revenue/Expenditure Statement for all departments, and a summary check register. There are no Department reports as they will be provided during the first Board meeting of July. Revenue/Expenditure Statement and Detail Check Register is included.

b. County Manager Report

▫ Update on County finances for the following funds/accounts:
General Fund ............................................................................................ $2,584,843.89
Fire Dept. Donations........................................................................................ $1,881.08
Cash Reserve Account................................................................................. $500,210.35
Jail Fund ........................................................................................................ $21,833.59
E-911 Fund .................................................................................................... $23,429.95
DATE Fund ................................................................................................... $33,922.30
Juvenile Court Fund....................................................................................... $16,391.30
Residential Impact Fee ................................................................................ $277,813.84
Commercial Impact Fees ............................................................................... $13,446.85
C.A.I.P FUND............................................................................................... $19,201.23
General Obligation SPLOST Tax Bond Sinking Fund, 2011...................... $370,686.82
L.M.I. Grant (DOT)..................................................................................... $157,805.46

c. County Manager Comments.

Going to reserve comment for later in the meeting because it is so lengthy. [Note from the Editor: The County Manager’s report mentions that repairs have been completed on Cook Road and the crew is working on the paved portion of McKinley Road now. The county will also be pulling ditches on McKinley Road between Hwy 19 and Williamson Road in preparation for compacting and applying calcium chloride. This will be our focus area to determine the effectiveness of this product on high traffic gravel roads with respect to road surface sustainability.]

d. Commissioner Reports.

Commissioner Daniel had a lot of calls that will be covered in the meeting.

Commissioner Guy said that he got a lot of calls and email.

Commissioner Powers said he had calls about Buchanan Road needing striping, one about McKinley on the dirt side and thanked the county for progress on the road so far.

Commissioner Jenkins made a couple of comments about the county budget. Short discussion that the county bought uniforms for workers at Public Works and they wash their own uniforms now. It is saving the county money and the employees seem to like it better.

School Board is looking to have a special election this year that will cost about $20,000, but it will not come out of the county side of taxes. CM Hanson said that this will cost around $21,000 and confirmed that the School Board will pay for the entire bill. This has not been finalized for the November election and has to make a deadline.

Chairman Johnson reminded the commissioners to obtain the floor rather than talking to each other on the side so everyone can hear what is being said and show respect to each other. [Note from the Editor: The Chairman was a stickler for rules throughout the entire meeting in order to make sure that each side was treated the same.]

e. County Attorney Report to Commissioners - None



a. Authorize Chairman Johnson to sign the contract between Pike County and Grady EMS.

. This was previously awarded. The County Attorneys reviewed this and asked that commissioners sign it. Motion to authorize the signing of this contract. Approved 5-0. CM Hanson asked Grady to be present and bring an ambulance to see after the meeting. Grady EMS took over ambulance service in the county at 12 am on July 1, 2016.

b. Approve/Deny MOA between ARC, GDOT and Pike County and authorize Chairman Johnson to sign.

This was discussed last year because ARC has included a small portion of the northeast portion of the county into the Atlanta district by the US Census Bureau. Money would be available for transit projects, but Pike has no transit projects and $394 is not enough to do something with this so we are giving our proxy vote to the DOT. Motion to authorize the Chairman to sign the Memorandum of Understanding. Approved 5-0.

c. Consider requested from Chris Curry of the Pike Historic Preservation/Slow Exposures to use the Courthouse Lobby September 16-20, 2015 for Slow Exposures Photography Festival/Diane Kirkland Solo Show Photography Exhibition.

CM Hanson discussed this with the Sheriff. It does include some weekend hours and the Sheriff is ok with this. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

d. Consider one appointment to the J. Joel Edwards Library Board to fill an unexpired three-year term, set to expire August 31, 2017. Applicant has met criteria.

Janice Johnson. Motion to accept Janice Johnson for the Library Board. Approved 5-0.

e. Consider four appointments to the Pike County Recreation Authority to fill a three-year term, set to expire June 30, 2018. Applicants have met criteria.

Hope Shavers, James Corbett, James Landry, Tatum Alverson. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

f. Consider one appointment to the Pike County Recreation Authority to fill an unexpired three-year term, set to expire June 30, 2016. Applicant has met criteria.

David Reeves, Jr. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

g. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input on reversion of zoning, pursuant to REZ-14-02, from M-2A (Manufacturing - Light) to P-I (Professional-Institutional) of property located at 6225 Highway 19 South, currently owned by Mid Georgia Gospel Assembly, Inc. Said property, with approximately 628 feet of frontage along the western side of US Highway 19, contains 4.58 acres and is located in Land Lot 231 of the 8th Land District of Pike County, Georgia. Property is further identified as Tax Map Parcel Number 068 108.
ACTION: Discuss/Approve/Deny

Zoning Director David Allen will address the Board first. 20 minutes total for the in favor and 20 minutes in opposition. In May 2014, this was rezoned for Dr. Gardner’s Vet Office. It has been one year and nothing has been done to convert it to the M2A Zoning. The church has been purchased the property, and they are relocating from Barnesville. The Planning Commission recommended for approval with paving, handicapped parking, and the retention pond recommendations. These are in the works now.

Pastor Talley spoke in favor. He asked for the occupancy permit so they can have services and for permission to fix the drainage pond as the weather permits because they can’t do it when it’s muddy. They want to be a good part of the community.

Ben Dunn also spoke in favor.

No opposition.

Commissioner Guy made a motion to approve this going back to P-I with conditions from the Planning Commission. Approved 5-0. County Attorney Morton said that Director Allen said that he will keep an eye on this and it can be cited for not being completed if it is not completed in a timely manner.

h. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input on SE-15-07 – David and Ashley Reeves, property owners, and David Reeves, applicant are requesting a special exception in an A-R zoned district to allow for a trailer / camper to continue to be used on their property for temporary housing at a construction site (building a permanent home on the subject property). The subject property, located on Old Meansville Road, has approximately 654 feet of frontage along the eastern side of Old Meansville Road. The property is located in Land Lot 200 of the 8th District of Pike County, Georgia. The property consists of 28.02 acres and is further identified as Tax Map Parcel #082 002.
ACTION: Discuss/Approve/Deny

Director Allen said that this went to the BOA on June 18 and it was recommended for approval with conditions: only one shall be lived in, shall use the well and septic, no dumping of human waste, if more than one year-must get an extension for another year and it will be not be approved for more than 24 months.

David Reeves spoke in favor. They are building their dream home on the property, and their past home sold faster than they anticipated.

No opposition.

Commissioner Guy made a motion to approve. Jenkins second. Approved 5-0.

i. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input on SE-15-08 – Steve Burge, Debbie Burge and Lawrence Burge, property owners, and applicants, are requesting a special exception in an A-R zoned district to allow for an outdoor, public shooting range (as a General Home Occupation). The subject property, located at 2734 Flat Shoals Road, has approximately 850 feet of frontage along the northern side of Flat Shoals Road. The property is located in Land Lot 247 of the 9th District of Pike County, Georgia. The property consists of 25.07 acres and is further identified as Tax Map Parcel #016 014.
Action: Discuss/Approve/Deny

Board of Appeals (BOA) on June 18. First recommended for denial and that motion failed. Motion to hold for Environmental Review. Staff recommended for approval that night and still holds to that recommendation.

There are 12 recommendations: annual bus license, repeated violations can revocate license, conformation to our sign ordinance, small safety signs entering range, all state and federal guidelines must be met, must meet NRA guidelines, rules and regulations clearly posted and signed by all, minimum 18 feet high backstop berm, 8 foot tall privacy fence, safety signs also on the exterior, vehicle parking to be beside and not behind the berm, and EPA regs to be followed. Hours are also regulated to be from 9 am to 6 pm and Sat 12 to 4 pm, with no Sunday and no night shooting. This approval would be tied to current applicant with no expansion without approval of BOA and BOC.

More added that night by singular members but the additional 9 items were not voted on by the Board of Appeals (BOA) as a whole including tests to confirm lead content, berm content removal every 3 years, lead measurements every year, less than 50 caliber, no skeet or trap shooting, gate locked when closed, and no shooting 1 hour before sun up and 1 hour after. No armor piercing bullets or exploding ammo were also suggested.

Zoning Administrator David Allen noted that there are 2 hunting preserves close to this land, and that there are no restrictions if private homeowners have friends over to shoot. There is no public shooting range here in Pike County, and it is unique for the owner to ask for regulations on this as a business and as an educational tool. There is a lot of shooting that goes on in the county, but this would be regulated. He pointed out that there is a whole lot of shooting that goes on in Pike County, but it isn’t regulated.

These are four major concerns that were presented that night: Noise. Steps will be taken to limit the noise. 18 feet tall in a u-shape with noise facing Flat Shoals with no one other side of the road. Safety. The bullets should be caught by the berm. Lead pollution. Batteries, airplane fuel, lead weights and fishing gear are not regulated and they cause pollution too. And depreciation of property value.

In favor:

Steve Burge spoke. He advised that he bought the property 2 years ago. He is 27 year veteran police officer and disabled Veteran. The Woodbury and Molena Police Departments were certified by Burge three times over the past 3 years. He is a state certified firearms instructor and NRA member. He wants to open a safe professional operation to show people how to operate guns properly. No exploding ammo will be used there and no automatic weapons.

Cameron Kerr has been hired by Burge and was present at the meeting to address the environmental info on this. Soil samples have been provided and they are waiting to get info. He said that he has shot up to 40 and 45 officers averaging 60 rounds per officer in the past, and there have been no complaints about traffic, noise, or stray bullets. He said that family members are given a gun as a gift and this class will be open to those who don’t know anything about guns so they can operate it safely.

He also said that this range would be open to the public for private lessons. No one less than a certified instructor or NRA instructor would be conducting lessons there. He is not providing weapons because people need to bring your own so you are comfortable with your own weapon. 90% of what will be shot on the range will be pistol ammo. It is 6 lanes wide with one lane that has a 100 yard line for sighting in deer rifles and law enforcement sniper rifles. He said that there will be a schedule for the range on a calendar so the public just can’t come in whenever they want to.

Cameron Kerr spoke about the environmental assessment. A plan is being developed to address BOA concerns. He said that his company also developed the management plan for the Spalding shooting range too.

It was noted that there is a 180 day moratorium on the Spalding County range that expires tonight at midnight unless it has been extended.

Benjamin (BC) Standard is from Upson County but has put a lot of time into our county. He is a former member and chair of the Upson Planning Commission and has 26+ years of law enforcement experience and also a certified instructor. He has known Steve since the 1980’s and 90’s, said that he is very dedicated and will do things right, and said that Burge is going by the NRA guidelines for the facility from all that he can see. As a retired trooper, he has to qualify every year in order to 50 state carry. 10 or 12 troopers went out there and qualified and he didn’t charge them a dime-though they took up a donation for him. He said that this is what you want in your county. Burge is trying to do something for the betterment of the community and to help people handle firearms safely in the community. He said that you have to be able to protect yourself and your property and do it safely until those who respond to an emergency call can get there. He talked about the good of trained citizens using firearms. He asked commissioners to approve this.

The Police Chief of Woodbury said that Burge has been the training officer for Woodbury for the past several years. He noted that there will be shooting regardless and this would be regulated. He said that Burge has made better officers of my officers as far as shooting goes and that Burge has followed the guidelines when certifying his officers. He asked for approval.

Pam Gardner is an avid shooter. She said that she would be excited for Pike County to have something like this. She cited single ladies that could use this and said that this would be great for our county.

Molena Police Chief Novin Darsey has 30 years in law enforcement and worked with Burge in another country. He said that Burge will overdo this rather than underdo this and that this range is very safe because of the steps that have been taken and that there are not a lot of houses out there.

Ben Dunn said that Burge was his neighbor for many years. He said that he would rather be around people who can use a gun safely. He has lived next to Burge and trained with him and that he is going to go over and aboveboard to make sure that this will be safely operated. He thinks it will be a good thing for our county.

BC Standard added: Is all shooting on this course going to be supervised? If so, that will eliminate a whole lot of problems and concerns that people are going to present in opposition. He will not allow that because of the NRA guidelines.


Jim Ramseur and lives close to the range. He asked that prior info be a part of the record for tonight including a petition. He asked for all against it within a mile of the property to raise their hands and there were many. He asked if this was appropriate for this area and said that it is in direct conflict with the City of Griffin Watershed ordinance. He then addressed the noise. The trees will be a buffer for the noise and stray bullets but what happens when the timber is cut. This is a determent to the health, safety, and welfare to citizens. He is fearful being downrange that he or his house will be hit. 4 hours equals about 14,000 rounds a day. 86,000 a week. 4 million rounds a year for 1 one lane. He said that the Sheriff’s Office has a range already. He applauds what Burge is doing but said that it is not right for the area.

Scott Klinger said that Mr. Burge seems like a quality guy, but he said that this is not appropriate for the area. There are an additional 60 names of people who feel the same way. It’s not the business, it’s the location. He said Spalding County extended the moratorium on shooting ranges. It is the location and the safety of those around it.

Beth Jones said that she spoke to Sheriff Thomas and verified that the county gun range is open to any law enforcement officer for recertification. She opposes this range because of the noise and the water safety issues. She and her husband began a farm in 1975 that has grown since that time. She turned down opportunities to put in a radio tower and other money making ventures because of the possible detriment to neighbors. She urged commissioners to please say no to this venture so it will not sound like a war zone.

Gary Weller said that he is pro-gun, but he is not pro-repetitive noise. He said that the Henry County gun range was about 4 miles from his house and he heard it on a regular basis. The repetitive noise was annoying. He believes in doing what is good for his neighbors. He said that there is a difference between shooting on your property a couple of times a week, month, etc. He is against it, but asked if commissioners did allow it to add a couple of items. He asked that there be no automatic weapons allowed. He said that 50 caliber guns are very loud. He has fully automatic weapons and some suppressed weapons and asked that suppressed weapons be encouraged if this goes through.

Doug Lacy complimented Burge, but said that this is not an issue of gun rights and safety. He said that there are appropriate areas for law enforcement to train. This is a home business for open air shooting range. There is no noise ordinance in Pike County and without it, there is no recourse for anyone who lives around it. He urged this to not be allowed in an AR zoning. This is a commercial business in an AR area. The opposition is not an aversion to guns, but he wants guns in the proper venue.

Leslie Jones is against the range because she thinks that it is totally inappropriate in this environment. A grandmother who lives close by spoke at the previous meeting is afraid of her grandchildren walking past this facility. A gun range in another county had stray bullets going over the berm including the noise. She said that stray bullets do not mix well with an AR area with people who live around there. She asked commissioners to uphold the current zoning and vote against this request.

Jeff Layton stood up to speak when there was only one minute left for the opposition. He pointed out that AR Bunker in Coweta County was an outdoor range. It became such a nuisance that the county had to go back and revoke their zoning. He said that he is not opposing them building it and believes everyone ought to be trained to use one [a gun], but that people who own land have a legitimate right to this. He said that he has had a couple of shots come onto his property from an outdoor range in another county. He was cut off because the 20 minutes was up.

The public hearing was closed.

County Attorney Morton said that some information has been received and should be part of the record. He said that the 9 items in addition to the 12 were not voted on by the Board of Appeals. The applicant has retained someone to address the environmental impact, and Morton said that the commissioners could postpone this until the environmental recommendations are received or they could take action tonight.

Jenkins motion to postpone this action on this item to receive the environmental study and add the following: wants to add 50 caliber and automatic weapon restriction to this. Powers second.

They asked the consultant when his report would be ready. Kerr said that this could be available in 30 days. The next night meeting was is closer than 30 days but agreed to by Kerr.

Daniel asked about the Spalding moratorium and the reasons for it. County Attorney said that he just came into town so he hasn’t had the chance to study this. He also clarified that there will not be another public hearing at the meeting where this is discussed. Morton said that commissioners will want to have this environmental study in hand in time to study it beforehand.

Chairman Johnson asked about policy. He suggested that the Zoning Administrator and the County Attorney get together and study the moratorium from Spalding County. Morton said that commissioners here can put together a policy on this but pointed out that this particular open air gun range was submitted before a new policy was passed; however, he said that commissioners can give their recommendations on this as it goes through the process.

Guy asked that the community and the people here today to be considered with this gun range and the bullets coming over the berm. He asked if you would want this in your backyard.

Morton said that everything that has been given to the boards including emails, letters, etc. will be a part of the public record on this item. Approved 5-0.

7:58 p.m. 5 minute break so people can clear out.

j. PUBLIC HEARING: To receive public input on First Reading of proposed text amendment, Chapter 150 Building Regulations, Section 150.35 (B), relative to the process of obtaining Permanent Street addresses for properties in Pike County.
ACTION: Discuss/Approve/Deny

This has been discussed for several months. There have been some problems in the past with the way that this has been done. Addresses based on permanent driveways rather than the building itself. Also on farms, etc. Also some changes for banks and lending institutions that will require an address up front so this will impact how permitting is done in Pike County anyway. The numbers would have to be posted by the driveway when a permit is issued and if the driveway is moved more than a few feet, it will have to be addressed. It was also noted that the GPS system is not updated here, and there are problems with it in Pike County. This did not go to the Planning Commission because it was not required. Morton also corrected the agenda because it had read as a public hearing, but it was not advertised as such and is not required. Motion to approve as 1st reading. Approved 5-0.

k. Consideration of Board of Appeals' request to allow the Zoning Administrator to approve administratively the use of trailers / campers as temporary living quarters on properties where permanent homes are being built. Special exception approval is currently required for these situations as per Code Section 156.43 (D) (10).

. The BOA thinks that it is overkill to have a public hearing with them and then again with the BOC. This is only for the one thing. It costs $200 and costs 6 to 8 weeks on getting this out there and no one ever opposes these. The Health Department can evaluate this to make sure that disposal of waste is proper. The BOA wanted to see if this would be acceptable to the BOC to make a text amendment and move this to another part of our code. Morton said that he and Director Allen will review this if commissioners are open to changing this. It will have to go before the Planning Commission and will come before the BOC at some point with public hearings and two readings. Consensus to do this.

l. Consider paying $9,995.96 for shelving in Library from Impact Fees.

CM Hanson made the recommendation to approve this. It fits the uses, and they have done a lot of things there without Impact Fees too. It needs to be used, and it fits the criteria. Motion to approve. Approve 5-0.

m. Approve/deny quarterly budget amendment.

To make this as simple as possible, CM Hanson provided a sheet to the commissioners and explained revenues and expenditures to them in the meeting. The amendment balances this out with extra revenues being put back into the county coffers. Motion to approve. Approved 5-0.

n. Aprove/deny up to $9,450 from Contingency for Pecan Tree Removal on the Square

This is to approve up to $9,450 from contingency for pecan tree removal on the Courthouse Square. The condition of the trees in steadily declining. 2 limbs fell on employee cars not too long back and caused damage to their vehicles. [Note from the Editor: The picture of the limb down on the square is one that I took after the meeting.] Numerous limbs are dead. CM Hanson had someone come from UGA who determined that the trees are a danger to the public and to the building. Hanson has three written proposals to get the job done. He wants to be sure that this can be done right. Hanson asked that commissioners give him the leeway to examine the bids so he can determine who can do the job and do it well including various equipment that can be used for taking down the trees without damaging our sidewalks, building, etc. Motion to approve up to $9,450 from contingency for tree removal.

10. PUBLIC COMMENT- (Limited to 5 minutes per person) - None



Motion to adjourn. 8:27 p.m.

Agenda subject to revision.

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