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Road-race rules move closer to approval

Posted: May 7, 2013 - 6:28pm  |  Updated: May 11, 2013 - 11:02pm
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Photo by Barry L. Paschal District 4 Columbia County Commissioner Bill Morris reads a proclamation declaring Food Allergy Awareness Week for presentation to Sheena Whitlock, president of Augusta Food Allergy. She is accompanied by her son, Langston, and daughter, Ha'ani.   Barry Paschal
Barry Paschal
Photo by Barry L. Paschal District 4 Columbia County Commissioner Bill Morris reads a proclamation declaring Food Allergy Awareness Week for presentation to Sheena Whitlock, president of Augusta Food Allergy. She is accompanied by her son, Langston, and daughter, Ha'ani.

Columbia County commissioners approved new rules for road races and rejected an apartment rezoning Tuesday.

Unanimously approving first reading of the ordinance on “road races, parades or public assemblies” that require public streets to be blocked, commissioners said they hope the “streamlined” policy would make it easier to work with such events as fundraiser 5K races.

“I think this will allow us to do an even better job of helping with these events,” said District 4 Commissioner Bill Morris.

The ordinance, if approved on May 21, would require organizers to apply with the county’s Community and Leisure Services Division at least 45 days before an event, and to pay any costs associated with blocking streets.

The ordinance also requires organizers to carry liability insurance.

Concerns about the number of requirements in the ordinance had prompted some commissioners to worry that the process could become too cumbersome, but County Administrator Scott Johnson said the ordinance puts in place a less-formal policy the county already follows.

Commissioners also unanimously rejected a rezoning that would have allowed construction of 50 additional apartments on a site zoned last year for 50 apartments and additional townhomes that haven’t yet been built.

The county’s Planning Commission recently recommended disapproval of the rezoning because of concerns about traffic and complaints from nearby neighborhoods. That body last year also recommended rejection, but was overruled by commissioners.

County ordinances limit apartment rezonings to just 50 per year. If the rezoning had passed, no more apartment rezonings would have been allowed in 2013.

Commissioners also declined to provide a letter of endorsement for Takshila Education, a private effort to provide tutoring in schools locally and to build a school in an impoverished area of India.

Officials said they felt the matter would be better taken up by the Board of Education, and expressed discomfort at endorsing one of many local programs.

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Comments (6)

yesiwill

costs associated with blocking streets

What exactly will "costs associated with blocking streets" be? Are these rules going to be applied to the parades and other events in the county?

Shouldn't there be just a flat permit fee so organizations can budget.

Barry Paschal

Blocking streets

Good questions, yesiwill. Yes, the rules apply to "races, parades and assemblies" that require streets to be blocked. It appears the fees will be set based on the number of officers needed for traffic control, the amount of routing needed by traffic engineering, the number of electronic signs needed to alert motorists, etc. A flat fee probably would be easier to manage, but that might hurt smaller races that don't need as much effort compared to larger races or parades that want major traffic blockages.

yesiwill

sherrif

Barry,

Its too ambiguous! Is this thousands of dollars or hundreds?

Does this mean we don't have to pay the sheriff separately?

Barry Paschal

I'm sorry

I'm sorry my answer is too ambiguous. I suppose you'd have to get the actual forms to see the details of how any of that works. I didn't get into those details because that information isn't useful to most readers; anyone actually needing that information would have to get the forms anyway. They get final approval next Tuesday.

yesiwill

Barry, Your answer was not

Barry,
Your answer was not ambiguous, the counties ordinance is!

Barry Paschal

Ha - I must agree

I read more of the details of the ordinance, and you're right. The ordinance is worded in such a way that basically it says "tell us what you want to do, and within two weeks we'll tell you what the event will cost to do it the way you want it." The language says it sets forth a schedule of fees, but it doesn't actually list a fee schedule. I'm clearly going to need to ask more questions, and race organizers might want to do so, too, before next Tuesday's final approval. Here's a link to the ordinance:
http://agenda.columbiacountyga.gov/Cache/00003/733/I2A2.PDF

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