The Ball Ground City Council held a pair of second readings regarding changes to the city’s development code at Thursday night’s meeting before approving both modifications.

The first proposed change involved raising the number of stories a building in the Valley Overlay district could have. Under the development code, buildings were limited to two stories, but the city’s master plan called for allowing up to three. The second change reduced the number of buildings that could be constructed before sidewalks around the development became necessary. When modified, the code would call for sidewalks after every two homes or one commercial building, although developers would be allowed to pay into the city’s sidewalk fund should the topography of the land under development not be conducive to sidewalks being built there. Once the council approved the second readings for each of these proposed changes, follow-up motions to adopt the changes into the city’s development code were approved.

In addition to the changes made to the development code, the City Council approved adopting an intergovernmental agreement with Cherokee County over an employee shared by both the county and city. Chris Luly is the city’s point person on planning and zoning, while also handling addressing, the city’s development code and GIS (geographic information system) and is working with the city on the upcoming census, according to City Manager Eric Wilmarth. Because Luly has been working with both the city and county for some time, the county wanted to have this agreement passed simply to officially codify what had already been taking place. Because the version of the inmate housing agreement already adopted by the city lacked a sentence regarding a 1% late payment penalty, the county asked Ball Ground to readopt the agreement with the missing sentence added in so that all agreements between cities and the county would be uniform. A motion to approve the new version was passed.

During his presentation to the council, Wilmarth said the city’s account balances stand at a total of approximately $1.465 million, while February saw income exceed spending across the board.

Although the city’s qualified local government status remains expired, Wilmarth said a state project number could be issued in the near future after Grant Waldrop, the district engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation applied for such a number to be given. Obtaining this state project number would allow for work to move forward on relocating the water line under A.W. Roberts Drive/Georgia Highway 372 near downtown. The final quarter-mile of trail of Roberts Lake Park has been developed, the city will be applying for the expansion to the senior center in the fall and a meeting was recently held with the contractor regarding the community building.

Despite stormwater getting into the city’s sewer system is still being an issue, work crews have managed to complete filling in cracks in seven more manholes throughout the city, Wilmarth said.

Advanced Disposal, Ball Ground’s new waste service provider, had started collecting garbage in the city on March 6, and Wilmarth found them to be very responsive to any issues and concerns. The new police vehicle the council approved purchasing in February has been ordered and the city will need to begin looking into addressing the issue of fallen leaves to help with future storm water drainage issues. Lastly, Wilmarth said the city will be testing out new software Thursday to handle scheduling at the city gymnasium, making it easier to know when the gym will be in use, as well as easier to rent and pay the necessary rental fees, while work will begin soon to fix an issue at the gym, where one corner of the floor is sinking and will need stabilized.

Mayor Rick Roberts took a moment to thank Wilmarth on his work to communicate safe practices with city employees and reminded residents that Wilmarth puts out a regular newsletter detailing many of the latest goings-on in town. Roberts also said the city is moving forward with its plans to create a youth advisory council and hopefully have it in place around mid-summer.

Councilman Lee Prettyman said things were going well with forming the city’s new sign law, with plans to have it ready to come before the council in the near future.

The next meeting of the Ball Ground City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 9.

A note to our readers

In these troubling times when we are all dealing with the coronavirus, local news is more valuable than ever. We have made the decision to give our readers free access during this crisis, but we ask that you would voluntarily support local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you to keep seeing our valuable local coverage even after we have weathered this storm.

Recommended for you

(1) comment

Giant Pia

I see the developers pay into a sidewalk fund. Here is a novel idea, why don't the developers pay into a new road and highway fund to help unclog the existing roads they are filling up with all their new homes and Apts. etc. What a concept! You broke it you fix it!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.