More News & Features
Thousands are expected at ‘Go Tell Crusade’
By Ramsey Nix
GIM Synergy Lake Oconee, LLC broke ground last Tuesday morning in Buckhead, celebrating the commencement of construction at Kingston on Lake Oconee, a new master planned community in Morgan and Putnam counties. Standing under a tent in front of a field of freshly upturned red clay, chief operating officer Don Davis announced, “Kingston on Lake Oconee has broken ground. We’re moving forward on the first phase of development.”
That first phase should produce 400 new lots for prospective homebuyers. The developers are planning a golf course, pool and tennis center, lake club, and marina on the 1,187-acre plot of land located on the west side of Lake Oconee, a few miles from the Buckhead exit off I-20.
This is not Synergy’s first master planned residential community. According to marketing director Ashley Flo, the real estate developers have created award-winning residential developments in Woodstock and Canton.
Kingston has been in the works for three years as the developers sought out multi-jurisdictional support from Morgan and Putnam counties. According to Putnam County Commissioner Bob Landau, there were no irreconcilable differences between the counties, and the final 15-page development plan received unanimous support from both boards of commissioners.
According to a Kingston press release, the developers have planned for 1,370 single family, town home and lakeside villa sites. When asked how Kingston plans to attract buyers, given the state of the national economy, Davis said, “Compared to other similar projects around Lake Oconee, their lot prices are 30 percent to three times as much as ours. Kingston will have the same quality at a lower price.”
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
City council members recently approved changes to the Madison zoning ordinances and accompanying map that creates a new commercial zoning classification in the city, the C-5 district.
The new C-5 areas of the city were all areas that were previously classified as I-1. The changes were made in areas of former I-1 property that were occupied by a preponderance of commercial uses, as opposed to true industrial or manufacturing uses.
“Staff was asked by the Mayor and Council to find ways to protect the industrial component of the I-1 Light Industrial/Limited Commercial Zoning District from commercial encroachment and consider altering uses to protect future industrial development,” wrote City Planner Bryce Jaeck in a staff report on the zoning changes. “When staff examined the uses allowed in I-1 and the actual uses of the properties comprising the district, it became clear that the majority of the listed uses were commercial in nature in both cases,” said Jaeck.
In other words, the city’s precious and limited industrial land areas were slowly becoming commercial in nature. Rather than limit the commercial uses of the I-1 district and risk having a majority of the parcels of land in those zones become “non-conforming” and “grandfathered” uses, city planners noted that most of the commercial-type uses in I-1 were clustered in certain areas, thus suggesting the creation of a new classification.
Madison Chamber Music Festival brings dollars into community
by Jessica Blomquist
photos by Angelina Bellebuono
By Matthew Burgoyne
Even with erosion, sedimentation, and the drought, the streams in Morgan County still meet state standards and qualifications.
“The stream quality in Morgan County is very good,” said Kevin Farrell, the Assistant Branch Chief for the Oconee, Ocmulgee, and Altamaha River basins.
Farrell works with the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) within the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The EPD is charged with the task of maintaining the environment of Georgia, taking “the lead in ensuring clean air, water and land” according to their mission statement.
The EPD monitors streams around the state. They examine the area surrounding a stream and perform numerous tests to the water. These tests measure the levels of dissolved oxygen , temperature, pH levels, and conductivity. These tests are done in the field. Samples of the water are also taken and sent to a lab. The lab tests the water for numerous other levels including biological oxygen demand, bacteria, ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrates, Farrell said.
Though the streams in Morgan County are meeting requirements, other streams and water sources in the state are not. If a stream does not meet standards, it is placed on a 303D Listing. Once placed on the listing, the issue goes through a process by which the state determines the cause for problems and the potential solutions. The state then works with the local governments to take steps towards increasing the quality of the streams in question.
“One of the most common problems for streams is bacteria,” Farrell said. This can be from a variety of causes, but it is normally due to a failing septic tank.
Father's Day reminds us dad builds more than treehouses
story by Ramsey Harris | photos by Angelina Bellebuono