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Hall denies no-parking zone for subdivision

POSTED: September 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners decided to stay out of neighborhood affairs when it voted unanimously to deny one neighborhood’s request for a no-parking zone.

Some of the Southern Trace Subdivision neighbors, like Ronald and Lola Blackwell, accused others of having "weekend parties" where cars parked on the street posed a threat to public safety.

Other neighbors came out to stop what one neighbor described as a "frivolous issue," because they felt they should be able to have lawn service vehicles or guests over without fear of being ticketed.

"There’s too many laws already. It’s a subdivision, where does it stop?" she asked.

The commission agreed it was a tough decision, but ultimately decided that neighborhood issues were not appropriate for the commission.

"I don’t think we need to be involved," said Commissioner Billy Powell.

"Are we going to have to respond every time someone calls?" Commissioner Bobby Banks said, questioning the practicality of a no-parking zone.

Neighbors returned to Thursday’s meeting, the second public hearing, without coming to any sort of compromise on the issue.

There was tension in the room, and one neighbor even started heckling another as he went to speak before the commission.

"There’s another violator that’s not in good standing," he said.

The commissioners agreed that getting involved in the Southern Trace issue would set a precedent, obligating them to deal with other neighborhoods.

"I sympathize with both sides," Powell said. "But I feel good about the decision. It’s always good for government to stay out where they can stay out."

Commissioner Steve Gailey said in six years on the commission, he had never seen an issue like the one over parking in Southern Trace Subdivision.

Commissioner Bobby Banks made a motion to request the percentage of votes needed on a petition to avoid split issues like this up to at least 65 percent.

Representatives from another neighborhood returned Thursday after resolving a disagreement over streetlights.

Representatives from the Country Walk Subdivision came before the board at its last meeting because they were divided over letting the county take over management of their street lights.

Neighborhood association president Jennifer Pettitt said she was able to talk through neighbors’ concerns, and by the end, 88 percent of the neighbors backed the county taking control of the streetlights.

"There’s a legitimate need to have this," Pettitt said.

The commission unanimously voted to approve the Country Walk street lights.

Hall County Fire Services got the go-ahead at Thursday’s meeting to increase ambulance fees an average of 14 percent. The vote came after two previous public hearings. Hall County hasn’t raised ambulance fees since 2002, and Fire Chief David Kimbrell explained the increase will help keep up with surrounding counties’ rates and help the county get more reimbursement money from Medicare/Medicaid.



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