SPLOST projects to move forward

By Billy Corriher

At a planning and zoning meeting Thursday night, two Clayton County commissioners who had previously asked to postpone approval of road resurfacing contracts in their districts decided to allow the projects to move forward.

Commissioner Charley Griswell said he recently found out that the county can't approve or postpone the projects individually but has to vote on the entire package, which includes resurfacing projects in all the commissioners' districts to be funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Griswell and Commissioner Virginia Gray had opposed the contracts going to Marietta-based contractor C.W. Matthews because they weren't satisfied with how the company responded to residents' complaints on another project.

Gray said residents around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had complained that blasting from the construction of the airport's new fifth runway, which Matthews is helping to build, was damaging their homes.

"For eight years, I've been battling this issue with blasting," she said. "The blasting has gotten progressively worse."

Griswell also condemned Chairman Crandle Bray for criticizing his position on the contracts.

"I resent the fact that any board member who doesn't vote with the chairman gets criticized by the chairman in the newspaper the next day," he said. "It's our duty to look after the people of Clayton County, the whole county."

"Mr. Bray has his plate full handling (State Rep. Victor) Hill," Griswell said. "He doesn't want me on his plate."

Hill, a county detective and candidate for sheriff, is fighting a county policy that requires employees to seek a leave of absence from the Board of Commissioners in order to run for public office.

Bray was out of town Thursday night and could not be reached for comment.

Since Thursday's meeting was for zoning and planning issues, the commissioners will not vote on the SPLOST contracts until the board's next meeting May 4.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the commissioners voted to deny two dense town home projects, one on Ga. Highway 42 and one on Southlake Parkway.

Harry Simpson, who was representing the developers of the property on Ga. Highway 42, told the commissioners there had not been any potential buyers for the property until the town homes were planned.

"(The project) conforms to market trends and is compatible with existing and current development in that area," he said.

Bob Jones, a neighbor of the property for 32 years, said the new dense development would lead to worse traffic.

"We're already seeing an increased traffic problem," he said. "We're concerned about being able to get on the highway to go to work."

Though the commissioners don't take a proposed development's impact on traffic into account, the board decided to reject the application.

"I have a problem with the number of units you have here," Commissioner Gerald Matthews said, noting that 139 units is "quite a few for that piece of property."

A request from a landowner to rezone land on Hampton Road from low-density to medium-density residential was approved.

The commissioners denied a request from the Grace Counseling Center for a church on Johnson Road.

The commissioners approved a request to rezone property on Ga. Highway 138 for commercial use. Dan Hughes, owner of the property, agreed to come before the commissioners again before building anything on the property.