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LCIDA chairman must get story straight
Letter to editor
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Editor, This letter is being written to clear up any misconceptions there may be regarding Paul McGowan’s status with the Long County Industrial Development Authority and his proposed site in the Long County Industrial Park.
The chairman of the Long County Industrial Development Authority was quoted in this paper from our last official meeting in January as saying that Mr. McGowan had up to three years to get construction started on his proposed building from the time he signed his agreement with the county for the property. However, upon review of the declaration and establishment of conditions, limitations, restrictions and privileges for the Long County Industrial Park (a document enacted and recorded by the LCIDA in 2006 to serve as a guideline for the growth and development of the park), it clearly states that “... construction of the exterior of all buildings and accessory structures and landscaping shall be commenced within twelve (12) months after acquisition of a site by a third party and shall be completed within 24 months thereafter … ”
The chairman was in error to state that Mr. McGowan had three years to do whatever he is going to do, when it clearly states in the covenant that he basically has to have his building up within a year of his agreement (2008) and could use the next two years to finish it out. Therefore, a reasonable person, in reading this, can conclude that Mr. McGowan is in violation of his agreement with the county because there has been no permanent building constructed on his site. Please enlighten those of us on the board and, more importantly, the taxpaying citizens of this county on the difference between your conclusion and what is spelled out in black and white, Mr. Chairman.
Secondly, the chairman asserted that Long County is obligated to construct a Georgia Department of Transportation-approved deceleration lane and curb cut on Highway 84 to service Mr. McGowan’s site. The cost for this improvement typically runs around $250,000. I am baffled as to where I can find anywhere in any of the recorded agreements prepared for Mr. McGowan or otherwise, where Long County is obligated to fund these improvements. Why would the Long County taxpayers be obligated to pay for a curb cut to service a private business off a public highway? More importantly, why would a $250,000 curb cut be needed to service a small business like Mr. McGowan’s when there has not been a site master plan prepared for the park that would dictate exactly where such a curb cut would be needed? Again, Mr. Chairman, explain the reasoning behind this.
Thirdly, is there an  executed and recorded document in the clerk of court’s office that spells out exactly what Mr. McGowan was obligated to do in regard to his part of the agreement? How many jobs were supposed to be created with his business? If he hasn’t built a building within the time frame of his agreement with the county, I doubt he will be hiring anyone or generating revenue.
As a LCIDA board member, I ask the chairman to stop acting as an emissary for Mr. McGowan at each meeting. Stop making excuses for him and stop personally interpreting what is clearly spelled out in black and white. Produce valid legal documentation that clearly identifies what the taxpaying citizens of Long County are obligated to do in regard to potential clients interested in making Long County a business home. This whole affair has drawn out long enough. If Mr. McGowan cannot come before the entire board and present his case and intentions of what and how he plans to meet his obligations under his agreement with the county, then maybe it’s time for Long County to “cut bait.” As long as this issue continues to draw out, it is unlikely we can attract good, job-creating, revenue-creating businesses and industry to this county.
As stated above, I hope readers see that I have “cleared” up this matter.

— Roger W. Houston
LCIDA board member

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