Long County Chamber of Commerce President Ray Howard and Long County Development Authority Chairman Danny Norman went before the county commission Feb. 3 to ask the group for help in expanding the recreational services at Morgan Lake.
Howard said the two groups met and wanted to see the feasibility in establishing a county-owned recreation park at the lake. He said that the lake is one of the greatest resources that the county offers, but few know about it.
Howard said that there had been discussion of a three-phase plan that would include building a pavilion, establishing camping sites and building cabins. He said that District 167 Rep. Jeff Jones, R-Brunswick, also had been contacted and expressed a desire to assist the county with the project.
Norman said the two immediate goals of the project, which is in the early stages, are creating a conceptual plan and a timeline. However, he added that it has to be determined how and if the project can be funded.
Department of Natural Resources spokesperson David Mixon attended that meeting and said that he and the DNR is willing to do all that they could to assist.
The commission’s consensus was supportive of the project.
Chairman Dwight Gordon suggested that the two groups meet with the commission at its planning session Tuesday, Feb. 17.
Mixon also proposed that the county begin doing some work for DNR that currently is being contracted out to independent contractors. He said that work often can be used for the in-kind matching funds that are required by state grants. Commissioners were receptive to the idea.
Code-enforcement officer John Bradley went before the commission on behalf of developer Bill Nutting to request that a plat approved in 2009 be amended from its original designation. He said that the Simmons Crossing subdivision originally was approved to have 88 lots, but now Nutting is asking that this be reduced to 20 lots. He said that a request also is being made for the road to remain dirt. Gordon asked Bradley if it is required for the road to be paved; Bradley said no. Gordon then told Bradley that according to his understanding of what the county code book says, it is required to be paved.
Gordon also asked if the project developer owes any back taxes to the county; Bradley responded “yes.” Nutting, who was in the audience, asked Gordon if he could address the two questions that Gordon had. Gordon said it is a standing rule that no one be allowed to speak at the meetings unless they are on the agenda. Nutting wasn’t on the agenda, so he could not.
Gordon said the matter was supposed to be decided at the meeting, but if the commission agreed, Nutting could be given an extension. The panel approved a 15-day extension by a 4-1 vote with Gerald Blocker, Clifton DeLoach, Robert Long and Gordon voting yes and Willie Thompson voting no.
Commissioners also approved the hiring of consultant Skip Starling/NFSO to assist the Ludowici/Long County Fire Department in preparing for its Insurance Services Organization (ISO) inspection on March 4. The current ISO ratings for the county have homes within 5 miles of Ludowici receiving a 5, and any home farther than 5 miles out of the city getting a 9. According to Assistant Chief Shawn Smith, each resident in the county has one of these two numbers, and their insurance rates correlate to that number. Smith said that higher the number, the higher the insurance premium.
Smith said that it was necessary to hire the consultant to ensure that the county’s ISO ratings either remain where they are or hopefully drop. Commissioners approved hiring the consultant for $7,000.
In other business, the commission:
• approved a plat approval for expanding the Murray Crossing subdivision and rezoned the area to R-1 residential.
• approved accepting and maintaining a section of Wilderness Road that runs through Moody Bridge Estates.
• approved the updates to the county’s land-development code.
• approved a contract to hire James Smith as the county’s attorney. His hourly rate to be paid for county services is $85. The contract will run through Dec. 31.
• requested a written proposal from Jeffery Mitchell on his request to help establish a Boys and Girls Club in Long County.