0

BOC wants uniformity on Ga. 138 corridor

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners has authorized the Collaborative Firm, LLC, to oversee the architectural continuity of the Ga. Highway 138 corridor.

At its regular business meeting on Tuesday, the board voted to enter into an agreement with the Collaborative Firm for design guideline planning services.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson, who has championed new development along Ga. Highway 138, said the agreement will add "architectural standards on top of" stricter zoning ordinances put in place along the corridor last year.

"[Highway] 138 is really the entrance way ... one of the doorsteps into Clayton County and particularly to my district," Edmondson said. "It is very important to me that we put our best foot forward, not only for [the] public perception of quality, but for the reality of quality, as it pertains to development and new jobs in the county.

"Now that the state has opened up opportunities by widening it [Ga. Highway 138], I'm very passionate to support the name change [to Lake Spivey Parkway] and the overlay district," Edmondson added.

The Board of Commissioners also voted Tuesday to abandon a portion of Flat Shoals Road near the intersection of East Fayetteville Road.

Last year, a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) project relocated Flat Shoals Road approximately 300 feet from its original location. According to Clayton County Transportation and Development Director Jeff Metarko, the old portion of the road bed will be put back on the market.

"We realigned Flat Shoals to the east as a safety improvement," Metarko said. "This is a portion of the road bed ... it is a dead end now. We are maintaining it the best we can, but right now, it serves no use. A private citizen has asked us to abandon it, so we are going to abandon it. It was basically a task that wasn't completed at the end of that construction project ... and now we are getting to it."

According to Clayton County Staff Attorney Michael Smith, the county is required to have a public hearing about the proposed abandonment. That hearing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., according to Smith.

In other action Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners accepted grants on behalf of the offices of the solicitor general and district attorney to prevent domestic abuse, prosecute perpetrators and protect abuse victims. The offices will share a total of $279,278 in grant money for more staff to help in the prosecution of domestic-violence cases.

The solicitor general will receive $64,768 for the Service Training Officers Prosecutors (S.T.O.P.) Violence Against Women program, which will provide for an additional prosecutor, according to Solicitor General Tasha Mosley. The office will also get $40,000 for its Victim Witness Assistance Program, which will pay for a victims' service specialist.

Mosley said the money would help reduce the amount of time involved in prosecuting domestic-abuse cases.

"The problem in domestic-violence cases is that you have a honeymoon phase," Mosley said. "You often have a person who is able to sweet talk their partner not to prosecute. We often lose a lot of victims this way. I believe the ability to get another prosecutor and victims' service person in the office will allow us to get more people to deal with those cases that disturb us."

The district attorney's office will receive $80,000 and $94,510 for its Victim Witness Assistance Program and its S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women program, respectively. District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson could not be reached for comment.