After hearing four hours of testimony from developer Jim Marshall and concerned citizens, the Elbert County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on Feb. 10 to approve changes to Marshall's …
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After hearing four hours of testimony from developer Jim Marshall and concerned citizens, the Elbert County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on Feb. 10 to approve changes to Marshall's Spring Valley Ranch development guide agreement, with conditions that include the addition of a snow fence and a drainage study for the area north of Meadow Station.
The decision was a long time coming, after the Elbert County Safety and Taxpayer Accountability citizen group began registering complaints with the county regarding the proposed changes, including allegations of unsafe road conditions and allowing Marshall to build fewer roads than called for in the original agreement, which was approved in 2006. The land use hearing had been postponed numerous times since Dec. 1, 2019.
“One of the things about agreements and negotiations is the conclusions should always be based on current and projected facts,” Commissioner Grant Thayer said in the land use hearing, held at the Elbert County Fairgrounds. “In terms of DGA2, which this will amend, the circumstances that facilitated the agreement have changed in a very material sort of way.”
Spring Valley Ranch is a subdivision located between County Road 29 on the east and Delbert Road on the west, with County Line Road and Singing Hills Road bordering the north and the south.
The Spring Valley Ranch Development Guide Agreement DGA (2) was approved in 2006 and included the creation of five miles of County Road 182 plus a two-mile extension to County Road 13. According to Marshall, the original agreement was made in anticipation of building a second community called Spring Valley Vista, but that project was abandoned in 2008 due to the market crash. The newly approved agreement will involve developing County Road 178 up to Delbert Road and improving sections of County Roads 13 and 174.
“In terms of roads, Elbert County has a contract with this developer worth $16.8 million,” said citizen Candace Head-Dylla during the land use hearing. “The developer wants to reduce that contract to $8.4 million. That's a $6.4 million loss for Elbert County taxpayers, which is, at least, $640 for every single household in Elbert County. Your fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of this county is very clear.”
Commissioners said they had received hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls from concerned citizens about the proposed changes, but felt the current conditions warranted an approval of the change.
“I do take the citizen input very seriously,” said Commissioner Rick Pettitt. “But I also have to look at what recommendations the staff and the professional people that are doing these projects, and what they have to say. I have to look at what I think is going to benefit the county down the road. Also there's legal implications you have to look at, whether on the citizens' or developers' side and weigh those on the best course of action.”
To read the updated agreement and supporting documents, go to www.elbertcounty-co.gov/129/Agendas-Minutes, click on “County Commission” from 2/10/2021, then scroll to the bottom to the “Land Use Hearings” section.
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