Friday, January 30, 2015

Athens Ridge Fight And Arrest Are The Exception, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Records Show

Alternative To Athens Coming

The fight and arrest on a charge of underage possession of alcohol early in the morning of Jan. 4 at Athens Ridge, the student housing complex on Old Macon Highway, was an exception, a review of records of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office shows.

Going back to when the townhouse complex opened at the beginning of the academic year in August, records show only one other incident that clearly involved alcohol. That event also was this year, on the morning of Jan. 1.

Athens Ridge Boulevard

Shortly before 3 a.m. on Jan. 4, Sheriff Deputy Matt Towe responded to several 911 calls about a fight underway at the student complex that involved 20 to 30 males.

Towe arrested Nicholas Bryant, 18, Lawrenceville, and charged him with underage possession of alcohol, a misdemeanor.

Details Of Arrest

When Towe arrived at Athens Ridge, he saw several people running from the intersection of Athens Ridge Boulevard and Black Oak Drive toward the pool area at the rear of the complex, according to the Sheriff’s Office incident report.

Towe reported that he saw a male wearing a t-shirt that was ripped and had blood on it. The individual was not wearing shoes.

The individual reported that there had been a large fight and that the others had run off before Towe arrived.

Towe wrote in his report that the individual’s breadth smelled of alcohol and the individual “was very unsteady on his feet.”

Fight Started On Bus

The individual told Towe that he had been in downtown Athens and had consumed alcohol.

He also told Towe that the fight had started on the bus coming back from Athens.

According to the web site for the complex, Athens Ridge runs shuttles to and from downtown Athens from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Shuttles also run to campus during the day.

Shuttle Bus On UGA Campus

Athens Ridge has 190 units and was fully leased as the school year began with 787 residents.

Athens Ridge Boulevard runs from Old Macon Highway through the center of the complex. Black Oak Drive and Redwood Lane parallel Athens Ridge Boulevard but also loop around to cross it.

The community is gated, and the roads are private.

Arrest and Release

Deputy Towe reported that he arrested Bryant and took him to the jail in Watkinsville.

Chief Deputy Lee Weems said that Bryant posted $500 bond at 4 a.m. on Jan. 4 and was released.

Weems told me that the Sheriff’s Office has been pleasantly surprised by the few incidents involving Athens Ridge.

The incident on July 1 involved a male who entered an unlocked apartment in the complex. The woman told the deputy the individual was drunk and disorderly but had left before the deputy arrived.

Bryan Neil Chaffin, 23, Loganville, subsequently was charged with drunkenness, obstruction of the law and criminal trespass.

Falls Of Oconee

In the future, the students won’t have to go to downtown Athens for their entertainment.

Site preparation continues at The Falls of Oconee, a small shopping center across Old Macon Highway from Athens Ridge. Both the student complex and the shopping center property are owned by the same Michigan company.

Plans are for the shopping center to contain several restaurants. The shopping center is in the area of the county where restaurants can have a license to sell beer, wine and alcohol.

So far, only preliminary site plans have been filed for the shopping center, and no building permits have been issued.

The county did receive a copy of a letter from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources dated Dec. 15 indicating that the underground storage tanks that had been on the site have been disposed of and the site had been cleared for construction.

A convenience store and gas station had been on the site.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Decision On Daniells Bridge Road Projects Delayed Again By Oconee County Board of Commissioners

Come Back Next Week

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners, unable to find a consensus, took no action last night on the two project framework agreements with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the widening of Daniells Bridge Road and for the Daniells Bridge Road extension and flyover of SR Loop 10.

Commission Chairman Melvin Davis pushed the four voting commissioners to give tentative approval to the projects, but none of the commissioners supported that decision.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Oconee County Commissioners Make No Progress On Courthouse Future In Two-Day Planning Session

Also No Agreement On Strategy

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners ended its two-day planning session on Friday pretty much where it started the day before in terms of the future of the Courthouse, which it also acknowledged is one of the most pressing issues facing the Board and the county.

Commissioner Jim Luke said at the end of the day that he is very concerned about the county’s space issues but that he didn’t think the Board was close to finding any solutions.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bed Bath & Beyond And Party City Coming To Oconee County’s Epps Bridge Centre

Now At Athens Promenade

Oconee County has issued a permit for a 39,000-square-foot building at Epps Bridge Centre to house both Bed Bath & Beyond and Party City.

The new building will be located to the west of Marshalls in the last open area in the central core of the strip mall that lies between the Oconee Connector, SR Loop 10 and Epps Bridge Parkway.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Daniells Bridge Road Widening And Flyover On Oconee County Board of Commissioners Agenda Again

Call For Decision On Contract

The project framework agreements with the state for the widening of Daniells Bridge Road and for construction of an extension of Daniells Bridge Road and flyover of SR Loop 10 are back on the agenda of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners for approval on Tuesday night.

The two projects would create a new traffic artery to move traffic from Watkinsville to the Epps Bridge Road commercial corridor and then Athens that would parallel Mars Hill Road, now being rebuilt at a cost of $30 million.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oconee County Commissioners Told They Should Consider Increasing Property Taxes This Year

One Commissioner Speaks For Increase

Given the costs of paying for the enticements to bring Caterpillar to the area, the need for new judicial facilities, and the plans to build new roads and maintain the existing ones, Oconee County commissioners should consider an increase in the county’s property tax rate.

That was the message of Wes Geddings, county finance director, in the opening session of a day-long planning meeting held by the Oconee Board of Commissioners at a conference venue in Athens-Clarke County today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oconee County Citizen Committee Wants More Money For Road Repair and Improvements

Sending Letter to BOC

The Oconee County Citizen Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning is asking the Board of Commissioners to increase significantly funding for road repairs, resurfacing and related improvements.

The Committee decided at its meeting on Jan. 13 to ask the commissioners to increase the funding following a discussion in which Pubic Works Director Emil Beshara outlined spending needs for transportation infrastructure in the county.