Mike Walters of the Rabun County Alliance spoke to the Members of the Rotary Club of Clayton on October 4th.
In the 30 minutes he was allotted, Mike listed several topics and asked the audience for their preferences. The initial request was the work that was done to develop a ridgeline/steep slope ordinance. Mike described how many neighboring counties have developed such an ordinance, and said the RCA obtained copies of those ordinances as guides for development, as well as ordinances from Highlands, NC and Lake Tahoe. In a meeting with County officials, Mike showed pictures of overdevelopment already existing in Rabun County and received enthusiastic support from the officials for going forward. The draft ordinance that was created was intentionally no more restrictive than those of neighboring counties and was presented with the caveat that nothing in the draft was cast in concrete and the entire draft was open for discussion. Shortly after receiving and reviewing the draft, County officials sent word they could not support the effort and there was no need for further discussion.
Other topics briefly covered were concerns expressed regarding past SPLOST administration, such as asking voters to approve categories of projects rather than specific projects as required by law, and improper and potentially illegal transfers of funds from uncompleted projects. Another topic was the focus the RCA has long put on paving unpaved roads, and the failure of the County to honor commitments made in years past (one example was a letter signed by three of the five Commissioners which made two promises, neither of which was delivered). Unfortunately, time ran out before Mike could discuss discrepancies regarding the justification County official provided for raising the property tax millage rates by 11.6%. Mike's perception was that the talk was well received by Rotary members.