Controversial amendments rejected by BOC at January Commission meeting

By Chris bridges - the Walton tribune

Chairman rejected accusations of wrongdoing on his part

This time citizens who turned out in mass to the Walton County Board of Commissioners meeting left happy.

The meeting room was packed last Tuesday evening for the January BOC meeting as citizens let it be known they were not in favor of altering requirements for lot sizes in the county.

Citizens showed up in mass as they were concerned about possible changes to the Walton County Land Development Ordinance.

The amendment, dubbed Errata #2, would allow 1 acre minimum lots in A1 and A2
zoning (that previously required 2 acre minimum lots) when public water is avail-
able. Developers have the ability to request approval from the county for this kind of minimum lot size change now, but the amendment would give them the ability to make the change by right, without requiring county approval.

In the end, only a portion of amendment was approved which focused solely on water safety and quality.

Our biggest concern is that the Board of Commissioners take an Oath of Office as public servants to Walton County residents. The proposed ordinance presented by the BOC last night would have given developers carte blanche to build out our whole county overnight..

Candace Donoghue

In the end, only a portion was approved which focused on water safety and quality.

“Our biggest concern is that the Board of Commissioners take an oath of office as public servants to Walton County residents,” said local resident Candace Donoghue. “The proposed ordinance presented by the BOC last night would have given developers carte blanche to build out our whole county overnight with no approvals needed. This would turn our county into Gwinnett County overnight. The fact that this was even on the agenda is horrifying and certainly not acceptable to the residents of Walton County. Even with short notice, Walton County residents from all the districts expressed their total dis- approval of this ordinance. In the past, Lee Bradford, Bo Warren and Kirklyn Dixon have been the ones to best represent the Walton County residents; and I want to thank them for doing so.”

The proposed amendment was broken down into sections and citizens had the chance to speak against each one.

Chairman David Thompson was the focus of a good bit of the criticism from citizens. At one point he spoke out about the accusations he had read on Facebook leading up the meeting.

“The accusations that I am profiting from this are bullcrap,” Thompson said. “I am working for y’all for almost free. I donate most of the salary I make (as chairman.) I can assure you I have more than enough money to live on. These accusations are made with no proof. It’s election year and things get attacked and blown out of proportion.”

Prior to the chairman’s motion he told audience members who wanted to speak not to make the same arguments over and over.

“Why not? I pay taxes here too,” one man in the audience said.

Numerous citizens took the opportunity to voice their concerns about how the information on the proposed amendment was kept under wraps. The major concern centered around making Walton County another Gwinnett County.

However, those in attendance seemed to be surprised when Thompson made a motion to kill all the sections that would allow smaller lot sizes if county water was available.

“I make a motion to kill it,” he said. “If it is ever brought up again don’t do it while I’m around.”

Commissioner Mark Banks said he had never made one dime based on any vote he has given.

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