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Streamlined county zoning finalized: Pet shop owner says shelter uncooperative

            The county commissioners finalized the new streamlined zoning procedures at their meeting Monday. This will allow quicker “downzoning” when someone changes a parcel to less intensive land use, such as moving a residential property to an agricultural zoning.

            It would also allow quicker changes from a higher intensity residential back to a larger lot residential.

            Essentially this change allows downzoning applicants to skip the planning commission step and apply directly to the board of commissioners, who makes the final decision on all zoning matters.

            The rezoning would still be open for public comment at the commissioners’ meeting. It also eliminates fees for seeking less intense zonings.

            Both district commissioners Josh Tatum and Josh Tippens praised this process as a good move.

In other business:

            • The county approved its yearly portion of funding for the Cooperative Extension Service. Under terms established with all counties by the UGA Extension Service, the county pays a portion of the salaries of the employees at the local office (Pickens has three employees) and provides the facility/office they use on D.B. Carroll Street.

            Pickens’ portion for the three employees total was $36,292.

            • Bart Connelly was re-appointed to the  Board of Tax Assessors.

• Captain Keith Elrod was appointed to the Northwest Georgia Regional Medical Services Advisory Council.

            • Michelle Tidwell was appointed to the joint Pickens-Bartow Development Authority.

            • Robert Saul, a pilot, was appointed to the airport authority to fill a seat specifically for a pilot. Commission Chair Kris Stancil said they had five other pilots express interest.

Ten-years of service recognized

            Nathan Jones, from public works, signs department, and Leah Bannister from the Cove Road recycling center were recognized for 10 years of service with the county. Neither was at the meeting.

Public Comment

            Dora Kelly, the owner of Kelly Family Pet Shop in Jasper, said she had approached the county animal shelter about partnering on adoption days and housing/fostering animals  but felt she had “been given the run-around.”

            She said she has successful relationships with both the Blue Ridge and Dawson shelters.

            Kelly said the county shelter tells people it’s full, even though with a relationship, she could house Pickens animals at her store and adopt them with a program where the shelter would make extra revenue.

            She also objected to the strict home visit standards before an animal is adopted. She said people may live “in a dump” and still take excellent care of their animals.

            Chief Marshal Jody Weaver, who has just assumed that role which includes supervision of the shelter, was to speak with her.

            Last week it was reported the animal shelter director had resigned.

            This was one of a very few public comments at any commissioners’ meeting in months.

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