More News & Features
By James Faucett
A multifamily text amendment proposed by the City of Madison for its zoning ordinance was unanimously approved by the Morgan County Planning Commission. The commission approved the amendment at its May 27 meeting. It will next go before the county Board of Commissioners.
Multifamily housing includes homes like apartments, condominiums and townhomes. The biggest change in the amendment, Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan had said prior to the meeting, is an attempt to have multifamily developments dispersed less densely throughout the city, like the its more traditional multifamily developments.
In recent years, the developments have been built closer together, she said, introducing problems like traffic and crime.
The amendment would also put limits on the number of units in developments and classify developments into small, moderate and large sizes. Developments of two to four units would be considered “small scale,” five to16 “moderate scale” and 17 to 32 “large scale.”
Thirty-two units would be the most permitted for a development.
Moderate and large scale developments would be required to be within certain distances of things like parks, neighborhood centers and major roads. Large scale developments could not be built close together.
“We were trying to avoid stigmatizing multifamily developments [and] putting them in a clumped off isolated area can lead to that perception,” City Planner Bryce Jaeck told the planning commission.
“They will be spread out and hopefully more integrated into the normal residential fabric of the community.”
By Kathryn McBroom
Released April 9, a new book, “Madison, A Classic Southern Town,” is becoming as popular as the town it explores. Written by William R. Mitchell with photography by Van Jones Martin and James Lockhart, the book explores Madison’s lush landscapes and historic architecture.
“I’m getting emails back saying how beautiful the photography was,” said Monica Callahan, Madison’s Planning Director. With an original goal to sell around 600 copies by Christmas, the book has far surpassed that in a matter of weeks. As of May 21, just over 1,000 copies have been sold, generating $36,000 in sales.
The newly formed Historic Madison-Morgan Foundation and Madison’s Bicentennial Committee worked together with the publisher to produce the book.
But the book isn’t all pretty pictures; it will eventually help protect the town it focuses on. After the book’s expenses are paid and the initial 5,000 printed sell out, the book’s copyright will be given to the city.
“After all expenses are paid, that revenue will eventually be spent toward green space and preservation projects in the local community,” said Callahan.
The book is not only a hit locally but has been shipped to 25 different cities in Georgia. Nationally, it has been shipped to almost 20 different states, including Arizona, New York, and Utah.
By Kathryn McBroom
Just because school is over, it’s not time to put down the books. Beginning June 9, the Morgan County Library will kick off their annual Summer Reading Program for children.
Once a week for four weeks, the library will host guest performers and storytellers. This year the library will partner with the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center to host this summer’s events. All programs will begin at 11 a.m. every week at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Hall.
Magician D'Avante Parks will display his “magical” storytelling skills on Wednesday, June 9. The following week, on June 16, storyteller Renée Hanna will perform. Hanna’s lively shows incorporate a variety of tales and props, including fables, puppets, costumes and poems.
On Thursday, June 24, “reptile wrangler” Ken Panse will tell stories and show off his reptilian friends. Panse’s shows can include frogs and tarantulas up to large python snakes.
Closing out the summer’s performances will be “the singing storyteller” Wendy Bennett on June 30.
Whether your child is an experienced Summer Reading Program participant or just a beginner, make room in your calendar for these shows. All events are a free of charge. For more information contact Morgan County Library Manager Miriam Baker at 706 342-1206.
By Matt Rogers
Agriculture is a crucial element of Georgia's economy. Twenty-seven percent of the land in Georgia is used for agricultural means according to Director of Georgia Organics Alice Rolls. With the amount of resources Georgia invests into agriculture, it is inherent that all fellow Georgians are on the same page and last Thursday they did just that. “Land Talks: The Future is Farming” was held at Hard Labor Creek State Park on May 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
A panel of seven representatives from academic and business backgrounds came together to answer any questions pertaining to the future of Georgia's agricultural economy. Comparing prices of commercial supermarkets and local farmers' markets, a price difference is quite obvious. Many factors go into why local foods are more expensive than conventional food.
“Since I've been certified organic, I have to buy certified organic feed from Virginia for my (chickens) because none is sold in Georgia,” said Cory Mosser, manager of Burge Organics in Newton County.
The structure of farming and its owners has changed dramatically. Over the years, farms have been getting bigger but the number of farmers is decreasing resulting in a single farmer owning many large farms, according to Rolls.
Like the term “organic” was and continues to be thrown around by many marketers in the food business, a new term “sustainability” is taking its place and is starting to cause even more confusion than its organic counterpart.
“Federal government has defined organic but no one has defined (sustainability) yet,” said Jeff Dorfman, UGA professor who specializes in agricultural economics. However, there is a reason for this uncertainty.
By Kathryn Schiliro
Morgan County High School seniors are set to become graduates this Friday, May 28, as the school will hold commencement exercises beginning at 8 p.m. at Bill Corry Stadium on campus.
Seniors need to report to the new gymnasium at 7 p.m., an hour before commencement begins, with cap and gown in hand. Per Dr. Mark Wilson, principal, men should be wearing dark pants and ladies should be wearing dresses. Jeans are not permitted. Seniors are also asked to wear appropriate shoes.
Graduation practice will be held on Thursday, May 27 beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the stadium.
Should plans for the graduation ceremony change due to inclement weather, graduates and families will be notified, according to Wilson.
By James Faucett
While people aren’t buying like they were before the recession, many downtown businesses saw better retail sales in April, says Madison Main Street Director Ann Huff. “We’ve got some (businesses) that are hanging in there and are kind of flat and we’ve got some that are up, they’re starting to see the numbers,” Huff told Downtown Development Authority (DDA) members at their May 20 meeting.
Some antique stores are seeing better numbers, and a couple of clothing stores are above what they were last year, Huff said. “That’s promising to me,” Huff said.
“We flattened out there for a little while.”
Authority members also said at the meeting that they were pleased that a lot of people had used Town Park in the last 60 days. Among the uses have been students taking pictures for prom and for a military ball, and special needs children utilizing the park for activities.
“We’ve had a lot of free uses of the park,” said Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan. While not a lot of rentals for using the park for exclusively have been booked, “That’s OK,” she added.
“The free uses are what we were really looking for.” If someone wants to use the park exclusively, Callahan added, then that would be a rental, but people are free to use it non-exclusively for things like birthday parties or other similar kinds of events.