ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County neighbors and county commissioners are divided on a rezoning issue.
Some don’t want a business built in their neighborhood while others said creating jobs outweighs any potential inconveniences.
After weeks of discussion and another debate among county commissioners Monday, a new concrete facility will not be built in the Leary Road area.
A business owner wanted to build a concrete facility on Leary Road in Dougherty County.
Several neighbors told commissioners during a public hearing last week that they did not want the business near their neighborhoods.
Around 50 people signed a petition against the facility.
On Monday, two more people wanted to speak against it as well, but the public hearing was closed. Commissioners did discuss it, however.
District 5 Commissioner Gloria Gaines adamantly spoke against the facility that would be built in her district.
The Planning Commission did recommend not letting the owner build the facility in the area.
“They decided to recommend denial for it. It was based on, I believe what the people in the area talked about. They were concerned about traffic and changing the character there,” said Planning Manager Mary Teter.
County Commissioner Chairman Chris Cohilas said he normally doesn’t give his opinion on zoning issues but he felt very strongly on Monday that the county needs new business. He said the facility would create minimal truck traffic.
Cohilas also said the area is designed to house a business.
The votes were divided, but ultimately the request was denied in a four to three vote.
Commissioners Lamar Hudgins, Russell Gray and Cohilas were against denying the business.
Commissioners Gaines, Victor Edwards, Clinton Johnson and Anthony Jones voted in favor of denying the facility.
Cohilas said he wants to show the developer other areas in the county he could potentially invest in instead.
A $1.4 million repair project in the Radium Springs area has been given the green light.
Commissioners approved going forward with the Radium Springs Master Plan.
It will include exterior renovations to the garden, pavilion, the spring and overall area.
Swimming will also be opened again on a limited-time basis.
Edwards said the repairs will bring tourists back to the area and in turn, bring more business to the county.
“Economic development and growth in that area. I think it’s going to bring life, we’re going to be renamed, reknown as, ‘Hey man, this is the city where we can go and swim in.’ So I’m just excited that everyone was in agreement with going forward with the project,” said Edwards.
A timeline for the construction has not yet been set.
More and more neighborhood watch groups are popping up throughout Dougherty County.
Neighbors are banding together to keep on eye on each other.
People in Dougherty County have had a series of meetings recently to discuss their concerns with each other and county leaders.
A big take away has been the increase in neighborhood watch groups. District 6 County Commissioner Anthony Jones has been hosting the town hall meetings. He said people want to know what goes on in their neighborhoods.
It’s a way for them to say something if they see something.
If you’re not home to witness a crime or anything suspicious, your neighbor is looking out for you.
“You know, they’re involved, they’re wanting to know what’s going on, they’re not having to get secondhand information. So anytime you have neighborhood watches functioning, people are involved in county government. They can avoid a lot of hearsay,” said Jones.
Jones said other heavily discussed items have been taxes, especially with the new year quickly approaching.
The meetings also give people a chance to discuss any crime concerns with the Dougherty County Police Department and T-SPLOST projects with Public Works.
If you would like to go to the next town hall meeting, it will be held Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Government Center.
People across the region are talking about mental health.
The Mental Health Development Disabilities and Addictive Advisory Council members sent out a survey.
They asked people in the surrounding counties how they access mental health care, what help they can get in their communities and what they're biggest issues are.
The members presented their findings to the Dougherty County Commission Monday.
“Communication needs to be a first step so that we can have the greatest impact on this health issue that affects as many as 25-percent of American’s health each year,” said member Debbie Richardson.
The group wants people to know they can get help through Apsire and other organizations in the community.
They also hope they can make help more available in the county.