Tag Archives: Lowndes County Commission

Sponsored: Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Georgia Power has pledged a substantial grant for the Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle on the Withlacoochee River, Saturday, March 2, 2024.

“Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power, WWALS will not require any payment to paddle,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Just use the eventbrite free ticket to reserve a spot so we’ll have an idea of how many are coming.”
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayor-and-chairmans-paddle-langdale-park-to-troupville-2024-tickets-799890352577

[Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04]
Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04

“However, if you want to support the advocacy and activities of WWALS, there is also a paid ticket through eventbrite. Or become a member or sponsor. Anyway, come down and paddle, see the sights, and have fun!”

For further information about the paddle, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=64027

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

Valdosta, Georgia, January 29, 2024 — Join us on March 2nd for a leisurely paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, and along the site of future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park.

“The annual paddle event provides a unique opportunity for residents to come together and explore the natural beauties of Lowndes County, immersing themselves in the serenity of our waterways,” said Bill Slaughter, Chairman of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners. “We encourage residents of all ages to come out and join us for a fun morning.”

“Together, we will showcase the natural beauty of our blackwater rivers and continue to work towards finding the most cost-effective solutions to educate our citizens and eliminate the trash that is littering our creeks and rivers,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. “With this event, we aim to empower our community and inspire everyone to take action towards protecting our precious waterways. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, and we are excited to lead the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles. All elected officials present, from both Florida and Georgia, get in free, and will have three minutes each to speak at the put-in. You can paddle up to them and ask questions,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA.”

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04; Photo: John S. Quarterman

On a new route this year, we’ll go seven miles in four hours, with an early takeout.

Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, March 2, 2024 to Langdale Park, drop off your boats, and drive to Troupville Boat Ramp. Shuttle from there back to Langdale Park.

One 15-seat van provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We love supporting this event and giving back to our community! This is just another event that shows how good the Mayor and the Commission Chairman are always working together to help this community,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. This will be an outside event, but we will recommend those riders taking advantage of the shuttle service to please wear a mask.

We’ll paddle three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin. There are no houses, but you may see creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, birds, and turtles. Valdosta is getting much better at keeping sewage out of the creeks and rivers.

“I’m happy to lead this paddle again,” said Phil Hubbard.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family. That floating chain and net keeps much trash out of the river. There is more for the City of Valdosta to do about trash, but that WaterGoat was the start of current progress on that problem. If you want to stop there, you can take out below Berta’s Pizza Kitchen on Gornto Road.

“The South Georgia Film Festival is proud to support this year’s Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle,” said Jason Brown. South Georgia Film Festival Director. “As many of the available kayakers will be in attendance both at the paddle and that evening for the film screening on the campus of Valdosta State University.”

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Continue reading

Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Langdale Park to Troupville, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

Update 2024-01-29: Press release, Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02.

Join us for a leisurely seven-mile four-hour paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River.

On a new route this year, we’ll go three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through Langdale Park past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family, which keeps much trash out of the river.

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Notice all the deadfalls (fallen dead trees) sawed out of the way by numerous WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups.

We will see all the river frontage of the land recently purchased by Lowndes County for Troupville River Camp and Nature Park. After paddling a third of a mile up the Little River, we will take out at Troupville Boat Ramp.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, March 2, 2024

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602, off of I-75 Exit 22, North Valdosta Road.

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04

Continue reading

Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12

Update 2023-09-26: Curious omissions from the minutes; see Packet: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25.

The Lowndes County Commission unanimously denied the inappropriate 2.5-acre rezoning proposed on minimum 5-acre and predominantly agriculture, forestry, and conservation Quarterman Road, after five local residents spoke against and nobody for.

[Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12]
Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12

Thanks to all who signed the petition against that rexoning, who called or wrote County Commissioners, who spoke in the Planning Commission or County Commission meetings, and thanks to the County Commisisoners for denying the rezoning.

Among the five who spoke at the County Commission were Gretchen Quarterman (who also took the videos for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)) and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (details on both are below). He made sure the Commissioners had a copy of the WWALS letter that had mysteriously been left out of the board packet; thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay Jones for signing that letter.

This denial comes after two previous denials, both also in an Agriculture/Forestry/Conservation Character Area, both also provoking many petition signatures and speakers in opposition, including WWALS.

Maybe developers will get the picture that development is not appropriate in such a Character Area, especially when wetlands and waterways are affected.

County Planner

It is interesting the extent to which a development mindset can color a presentation by a County Planner. I was just going to mention one example of that, but as I listened to the LAKE video of his presentation, I kept noticing more examples. Continue reading

Please keep Quarterman Road in agriculture and forestry –WWALS to Greater Lowndes Planning Commission 2023-08-28

Update 2023-09-17: Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12.

Update 2023-09-09: Packet: Board of Health appointment, two rezonings, 4 water, mosquitoes @ LCC 2023-09-11.

Thanks to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission (GLPC) for voting 7:1 to recommend denial of a proposed rezoning on Quarterman Road that would have injected 2.5-acre lots into a 5-acre minimum agricultural and forestry area.

[WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28]
WWALS Letter, maps, speakers 2023-08-28

Thanks to all the neighbors and others who helped get that done, with a petition, by speaking in the Public Hearing, and by calling and writing their Commissioners.

GLPC only recommends. The actual decision will be by the Lowndes County Commission at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, September 12, 2023, in Commission Chambers, second floor, 327 North Ashley Street, Valdosta, GA 31601. You can speak in that Public Hearing, as well as call and write your County Commissioners, and sign the petition.

Meanwhile, thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay for sending the letter below to GLPC. Continue reading

Dollar General developer and property owner sue Lowndes County about rezoning denial –VDT 2023-05-03

The plaintiffs’ case is based on the Lowndes County Commission not agreeing with county staff’s recommendation to approve the rezoning, as well as “evidence supporting their petition and codes relating to the Unified Development Land Code.”

Maybe this is the “enhanced facade” that Dollar General offered in the Public Hearing after which the County Commission denied the rezoning, on January 1, 2023.

[Enhanced facade, plat, and future development, VDT and actual stormwater by WWALS]
Enhanced facade, plat, and future development, VDT and actual stormwater by WWALS

Also the plaintiffs say all the public comments were “generalized and speculative”. Huh, I sure thought I heard a bunch of quite specific public comments. The letter WWALS sent to the Commission before that Public Hearing was quite specific, for example, in saying the allegation that the closest effect on nearby property owners would be on their residences was hogwash, given that stormwater from the subject site runs west under GA 122 onto neighboring property much closer than that residence.

There was speculation in various comments, but it was based on easily documented history of Dollar General and of property development in Lowndes County.

After a story by a Valdosta Daily Times reporter, that local organ of record weighed in with an editorial supporting the citizens. Continue reading

Paddling in the treetops 2023-02-13 and for real two years ago 2021-02-27 2023-02-13

Update 2023-02-16: River Low, Action, and Flood Stages 2023-02-16.

“Right now we’d be paddling in the treetops,” joked Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter, Monday at the Lowndes County Commission Work Session, about the upcoming Fourth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2023-03-04.

Well, five of us actually did that two years ago, February 27, 2021. As I wrote back then, “ it was smooth sailing for experienced paddlers. The overhanging branches would have been a problem for novices, and there were very few places to get out if you did capsize.”

[Chairman says paddling in the treetops, and for real two years ago]
Chairman says paddling in the treetops, and for real two years ago

“It would be a very short trip, I promise you,” Lowndes County EMA Director Ashley Tye replied to the Chairman.

Two years ago it took about four hours to paddle those 11 miles from Troupville Boat Ramp to Spook Bridge, from 9 AM to a little after 1 PM, without rushing. That’s fast, 2.75 miles an hour, compared to our default estimate of 5.5 hours at two miles an hour.

Back then the Hahira Gauge, on the Little River at GA 122, read about 13.73 feet. Continue reading

Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26

Update 2023-05-06: Dollar General developer and property owner sue Lowndes County about rezoning denial –VDT 2023-05-03.

Thank you, Lowndes County Commission, and all the opposition speakers and writers, for this win written up in the local newspaper of record.

This win keeps some trash out of the Withlacoochee River, upstream from Valdosta and Florida, while stopping a foothold for further development too close to the river, avoiding clearcutting, impervious surface, and the flooding that would have caused.

Malia Thomas, Valdosta Daily Times, January 26, 2023, County nixes planned Dollar General,

VALDOSTA — Lowndes County residents felt heard as a contentious zoning request for a rural Dollar General was denied by the Lowndes County Commission.

[Hearing, Location, Withlacoochee River]
Hearing, Location, Withlacoochee River

Teramore Development, the retail real estate company behind the request, petitioned to rezone three acres of the 35-acre property from Estate Agricultural to Crossroads Commercial.

Continue reading

Please deny Dollar General rezoning, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road –WWALS to Lowndes County 2023-01-23

Update 2023-05-06: Dollar General developer and property owner sue Lowndes County about rezoning denial –VDT 2023-05-03.

Update 2023-01-29: Lowndes County nixes planned Dollar General –VDT 2023-01-26.

Update 2023-01-24: Videos: new attorney, VLDA appointment, Dollar General rezoning, 2 infrastructure, special assessment rate, VOCA @ LCC Work 2023-01-23.

I sent this letter to the Lowndes County Commission today as PDF.

Here’s how you can also ask the Commissioners to deny this rezoning.
http://www.l-a-k-e.org/blog/?p=23351

[Please deny commercial rezoning in agricultural area --WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2023-01-23]
Please deny commercial rezoning in agricultural area –WWALS to Lowndes County Commission 2023-01-23


January 23, 2023

To: Lowndes County Commission and Staff

Re: REZ-2022-20 for a Dollar General, GA 122 @ Skipper Bridge Road

Please deny the proposed rezoning at GA 122 and Skipper Bridge Road from Estate Agriculture to Crossroads Commercial.

We don’t need more clearcutting, impervious surface, petroleum runoff, and trash, uphill from the Withlacoochee River, setting a precedent for further sprawl into a forestry and agricultural area, costing the county money, and everybody downstream as well.

This rezoning decision affects the entire county and everybody downstream all the way into Florida, for drinking water, flood prevention, wildlife, river water quality, and quality of life. Continue reading

Schedule for 2023 Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) grant applications 2023-01-11

I’ve heard differing opinions about various deadlines for submitting a grant proposal this year to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP), such as for Troupville Nature Park and River Camp at the Little River Confluence with the Withlacoochee River, just west of Valdosta, Georgia.

[GOSP, Helen Tapp, Land Between the Rivers]
GOSP, Helen Tapp, Land Between the Rivers

So I asked GA-DNR, who replied that grant pre-applications will open this fall, and will be announced this spring. The earliest anything might need to be done with GA-DNR about GOSP is informational webinars, which may be scheduled for May or June.

I’m sticking to my opinion that there’s no point proceeding with a grant application until ongoing park maintenance is lined up. It’s my understanding that Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson and One Valdosta-Lowndes have the token to find that maintenance money as well as the rest of the required cash match.

Lowndes County already made a huge step forward by buying Helen Tapp’s Land Between the Rivers for eventual addition to the land already owned by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreational Authority (VLPRA) to form the park. I don’t know of anything else pressing the county needs to do at the moment.

Here is this morning’s response from GA-DNR: Continue reading